Tartans anyone can wear

When it comes to tartans there can be a lot of misconceptions and misleading information out there. For some people knowing what tartans are acceptable to wear is a blurry area. This blog covers the different types of tartan and the use of them as well as some common universal tartans ideas.

Most people look for a family name tartan if they are of Scottish decent and there are thousands of clan and family name tartans with loads of variations. The tartan register holds records of all known registered tartans along with the rightful creators and owners.

Aside from ranges of personal, royal tartans , military tartans, and privately owned tartans , there’s an endless array of what we call universal tartans which don’t belong to any set person and are more commonly used amongst large groups of people.

Tartans anyone can wear

The “right” to wear a tartan –

Highland wear culture is celebrated all over and the world and a key aspect of Scottish culture is our national dress. In the evolving age of modern ethical consumer behaviour, some people aren’t sure if they are allowed to wear a tartan and some misinformation can circulate around this topic.

In Scottish culture there is no such thing as the right to wear a tartan. Tartan unites people from all over the world in all cultures to embrace and celebrate a key piece of Scottish identity. Within Scotland its highly encouraged to participate in highland wear and open to everyone of every background, many tourists will embrace Scottish culture in it’s entirety as its a sign of respect and welcoming.

Universal tartans

Clan tartans & who can wear them?

Clan tartans are specific tartans associated with a family / group name. Clan tartans were introduced as a means of identification in the 27th century but are commonly worn in connection to Scottish ancestors and family within the same name.

Many people will chose to wear their own family name tartan if they have one. There are hundreds of variations of names and clan regiments. Some clans were made up of a few family names collectively and many people who think they don’t have a family tartan actually share a tartan under a different name.

It’s been misinterpreted that only people of that name can wear said clan tartan and this is far from true. In terms of most generic, universal name tartans, anyone can wear them. Many family tartan designs have changed over the years through new variants and colour palettes, this would be for more private owned tartans. Some people will design their own version of a family tartan unique to them.

To clear up any misinformation, clan tartans are for everyone you don’t have to have the same name, you don’t need to be Scottish, if it isn’t private owned tartan, you don’t need permission to wear it. Not to worry there’s plenty of tartans that are free to everyone and popular all over the world.

Types of tartan

Universal tartans

We have briefly touched on universal tartans and to reiterate universal tartans are more generic / common tartans available to everyone and isn’t privately owned , this will be the case for most tartans you will have come across before.

Here’s some examples:

Tartans anyone can wear

These are just some examples of the vast array of universal tartans, you will find the majority of big name/common tartans are free for everyone and produced by multiple mills in different variations like modern, dress and hunting.

Houston Kiltmakers exclusive tartan range –

Houston Kiltmakers have carefully designed and curated our own range of exclusive tartans called the Bute Heather collection.

The Bute heather collection is exclusive to us and cannot be sourced elsewhere. We have designed this collection as a range of key tartan staples, designed to fit any colour palette. Our most popular Bute heather range has an array of mixed grey based tartans with pops of colour and a few brighter neutral tartans to create a range ideal for any occasion or any colour palette and designed to be timeless.

Bute Heather collection - tartans anyone can wear

This collection has been amongst our best selling tartans for the past 15 years and have become a signature staple at Houston kiltmakers. The beautiful Bute Heather collection is perfect for anyone and open for all to embrace regardless of background.

Private owned tartans

Like the name states, private owned tartans are registered through the Scottish Tartan Registry and the rights to the ownership of the tartan will be issued to whoever created / registered the tartan.

Special weave tartan design

What does this mean?

Well basically that person owns that specific design and only they can authorise the production and use of the tartan. If you wanted to use a private owned tartan, you would need to contact the owner and ask for permission to weave the tartan for whatever purpose.

Why are some tartans privately owned? –

Well this comes down to a few reasons and an array of possibilities. Someone may choose to keep their private tartan if its sentimental to them, their own unique design they’ve worked hard on and more importantly to protect the design from being stolen or misused (i.e. possibly in the context of corporate tartans).

How do you design and register a tartan? –

Tartan kilt

There are many tartan design experts across the country and these people specialise in the process of tartan design. We offer tartan design at Houston kiltmakers, Our tartan design experts, owners and directors Ken & Ewan MacDonald, have decades of experience and have designed tartans for a wide array of clients all over the world.

When enquiring about tartan design we will often ask for you to pick out a few tartans you already like and will analyse the elements about the colours or pattern you like and what ideas you have for your own tartan. We will create design drafts based off your specifications and work closely with you to bring your dream tartan to life. Once finalised the design has to be submitted for approval and registry with the Scottish Register of Tartans registry authority. Once registered it can be woven and made into kilts, accessories and more, or you may choose to weave at a later date.

Some people design their own tartan to feel even closer to Scottish culture, owning their own tartan or to mark a special occasion by designing a unique tartan for a wedding day or for events or corporate designs intended for commercial use.

Black watch tartan

Royal tartans

Royal tartans are unique to the royal family and are only intended for royal use. This means no one in the public setting can produce or wear these tartans as they are privately owned by the royal family.

An example of this is the Balmoral tartan. This tartan is restricted to the Royal Family and Piper to the Sovereign. Since 1936 the tartan has also been worn by the Balmoral Estate Pipers.

Choosing a tartan –

We understand with there being so many tartans, options and names it can be overwhelming. We are proud to offer the largest tartan selection available within Scotland and specialise is the finest quality highland wear. If you are unsure of where to start looking at tartans we would recommend.

Check your family name here to see if you are linked to a clan tartan or to find any tartans you’ve been interested in already, other suggestions would be browsing our online tartan range and seeing the wide range of tartans we have to offer we also have a page here on tartans for everyone.

The Bute heather collection is ideal to look at as a fan favourite, it is exclusive to Houston kiltmakers and the perfect range of colourful neutral tartans perfect for any occasion and welcome to anyone of any demographic.

For more information on tartan design you can visit our page here to read more in depth about designing a tartan and what we can do for you.

For any other enquires on kilt packs , bespoke jackets, kilts and accessories feel free to browse our website here at kiltmakers.com or contact us at [email protected] or alternatively visit us in store at 67 high street Paisley or call us on 0141 889 4879.

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