Ken’s Creations – Glasgow’s Miles Better Tartan

An Aerial Shot of the Glasgow Garden Festival

Houston Kiltmakers owner Ken MacDonald is a well renowned Tartan Designer. As well as offering a personal tartan design service for customers, Ken has also produced prestigious tartan designs for Kilt outfits for royalty and dignitaries. Over this series of posts we will pick out some of Ken’s design and take a closer look into the story behind them. We have already looked at his Bute Heather range, this week we will put the spotlight on the ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’ tartan, which was designed for the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival.

Glasgow's Miles Better Tartan, Image Courtesy of Scottish Tartan Authority

1988 marked the year of the Glasgow Garden Festival, the 3rd of its kind to be held in the

UK. These National Garden Festivals were an opportunity for redevelopment of industrial areas in cities that were no longer being used. After successful Festivals in Liverpool and

Stoke, Glasgow took its turn at staging the next event.

When asked to design a tartan for the event to be used for the staff’s uniforms Ken jumped at the opportunity. The resultant tartan is the ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better‘ tartan, named after the slogan used to promote Glasgow around the time of the Festival. The tartan designed can be view below:

Ken’s reasoning behind the colour choice was to keep with the colour scheme that was already being used for the Glasgow Garden Festival and other branding around the ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’ Campaign.

When HRH Prince Charles came to visit the festival he was presented with two Kilts by Ken in the ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’ tartan for his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Ken MacDonald and Prince Charles
Ken MacDonald presenting 'Glasgow's Miles Better' Tartan Kilts to HRH Prince Charles

The festival was a great success, with 4.3 million visitors in the 152 days it ran. The festival helped to restore Glasgow’s status as both a national and international City of Culture, a title which was placed on the city in 1990. Its legacy has seen a regeneration of the Riverside – the Glasgow Science Centre, SSE Hydro, the Glasgow Tower, Riverside Museum, BBC and STV’s new headquarters, among other buildings have all been constructed on and near the site of the Garden Festival.

Glasgow Garden Festival
An Aerial View of the Glasgow Garden Festival, 1988



Tartan In Sports – Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014

With the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games fast approaching, an event that will be touched throughout with a Scottish Tartan Spirit, there hasn’t been a better time to look forward to how tartan will be incorporated into the Glasgow 2014 Games.

Image Via The Scotsman
The Official Glasgow 2014 tartan will be used for the Medal Bearer's Dresses

Hosting a sporting event is always a chance to showcase parts of the local culture and traditions, and the Commonwealth games is no different. Two new tartans have been designed and registered for the event, the first called ‘The Glasgow 2014’ tartan which will be used for the outfits of the medal bearers at the event. A second tartan, ‘Commonwealth Games Scotland, Team Scotland‘, was also designed to be worn by Team Scotland athletes.

The tartan is being modelled by Gregor Edmunds, one of Scotland's strongest men
The Official Glasgow 2014 tartan will be worn by the medal bearers during the Games.

The ‘Glasgow 2014’ tartan was designed all the way back in 2012 by Shawlands Academy pupil Aamir Mehmood, who’s design was picked out over thousands of other designs submitted by students across the country. The tartan incorporates Scotland’s national colours while the green in the design represents the diversity of the pupils at Shawlands Academy. The Glasgow 2014 tartan is available in Scarves, Ties and other accessories from, just email us telling us what your looking for!

Designed at the start of 2014 by Jilli Blackwood, the Team Scotland Commonwealth Games tartan offers a bold look that will make the Scottish athletes stand out at this edition of the Games. Jilli said about her design, “I felt the women were wearing a female version of the male uniform,” and “I thought it was time to bring the women forward and inject a bit of style into their uniforms.”

Jilli Blackwood Modelling her 'Team Scotland' tartan
Jilli Blackwood Modelling her 'Team Scotland' tartan

By using a colour palette that would perhaps be more traditional regarded as feminine, Jilli has created an eye-catching tartan, featuring pink, blue and light brown tones.

There is quite a contrast between both the tartans, the strong green and blue against the lighter, almost pastel pink and yellow. I look forward to seeing both the tartans worn during the games, it will be a great opportunity for one of our national exports to be shown off on the global stage.

The Commonwealth Games starts on the 23rd of July and runs till the 3rd of August. For more information please visit the Games Official website at: