A Taste for Tartan

The tartan plaid has played the most outstanding role in the history of vintage fashion. When thinking back to the time when tartan first started, popular opinion would locate tartan's roots in Scottish heritage. However, the earliest examples of this beautiful plaid dates back to 3000 BC. Mummies that were excavated in China show similar patterns to the tartan of today. As to be expected, there is little information in regards to this so let us now return back to the Scottish Highlands. Tartan was first worn to decipher which area a person was from in Scotland. The fabrics appearance varied according to the dye and local weaving technique that was available in that locale. The plaid was then adopted in London around 1815 and became a symbol of refinement because of its aristocratic and military associations. 

Tartan then became extremely popular due to the punk movement in the 1970's. The plaid was utilised to protest against politics and fashion, ironically it became fashion itself. Tartan received wide recognition within the punk era in the 80's and 90's due to the mother of punk herself, Vivienne Westwood. With the launch of her brand and the growth of the punk culture tartan deservedly wrote its name in the history books. The beautiful plaid evolved with artistic influencers such as Andy Warhol adding acid colours and launching the pop culture movement. Tartan held a movement of its own and the fabric took on a new form of style that was unprecedented. Not only did tartan continually reshape the punk movement, the plaid became a statement of rebellion and social change. The very opposite of its original symbolism .

As the decades rolled on, tartan became a statement plaid on the catwalks, particularly by the strong influence of designer, Alexander McQueen. McQueen features tartan heavily in his collections to honour his Scottish heritage and also in remembrance of Scotland's turbulent political history. Tartan serves as a mural and once again one is reminded that our modern trends have an intricate history to their fame. This is just one of the reasons why vintage fashion is so invaluable in today's fast fashion world.