Despite its heavy association with Scotland and the rest of the UK, tartan as a concept actually began out of Asia and Europe. Many variations have came about in part due to fast fashion; taking the pattern that is traditionally woven in wool and weaving it into all sorts of new fabrics, until it is the fashion staple we all know today seen all across the world.
However, along with people who have commissioned their own personal tartans, there are designers out there changing the landscape of tartan. Designers such as Parminder Kaur Kooner, who after visiting Scotland and seeing the Highland Games in 1979, was in awe of the array of kilts worn by all, young and old.
After some research, Parminder learned that each tartan typically represents a clan and their heritage. With this she returned to London with an idea to create a tartan to represent Khalsa Sikhs. It would be 30 years in the making, as in 2015 Parminder met with Brian Wilton MBE, considered the “tartan ambassador”, to discuss the possibility of creating the Khalsa tartan.
The Khalsa tartan consists of these colours; blue, black, yellow orange and white. The five narrow blue bands represent the Five Ks, Five Beloved Piyaarey and five Takhts. Apart from the narrow lines, all color bands comprise ten threads or multiples of ten to celebrate ten Sikh Gurus. The small yellow square symbolizes Guru Granth Sahib Ji (living Guru) and Darbar Sahib, The Golden Temple in Amritsar. The surrounding four orange squares symbolizes the Chaar Sahibzadey – the four sons of the 10th Sikh Guru, The Saint and Soldier Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the creator of Khalsa in 1699. The squares also represent the four entrances of Darbar Sahib, symbolizing openness of humanity.
We at Houston’s are proud to be the chosen kiltmakers for Khalsa tartan. We had the honour of Parminder and her family visiting us in our store in Paisley, to discuss Khalsa tartan jackets! Bespoke tartans are a means of representation, a means of inclusion, and a way of showing pride for one’s culture. We are honoured to be a part of that process for Khalsa Tartan.