Trendculture : Tartan

October 2022


The tartan, everyone likes it: the aristocrats, the punks, the bourgeois, the grunge!

One of its great figures is Charles Edward Stuart, the leader of the Scottish rebellion of 1745. This pattern was banned in Great Britain until the end of the 18th century before being revived by Prince Albert in the 19th century. The tartan is a woven-dyed thread that crisscrosses in the warp direction, that is to say vertically, and weft, that is to say horizontally. It is often composed of two main colors enhanced by secondary colors in lines.

The tartan across the regions ...

Tartan is often associated with clans, but in reality, the different checks are more associated with regions and territories. The Macleod is one of the most famous, the Royal Stewart was in principle reserved for Her Majesty the Queen and the Haymarket Check was launched by Burberry in the 1920s. At the end of the 19th century, it was developed in the United States under the name "Plaid". The Woolrich Pennsylvania mill launched the famous "Buffalo" check shirt in 1850, the ancestor of the hipster shirt.

The tartan through the ages ...

And today, it is Ralph Lauren who embodies the preppy-chic checkered version wasp.

In the 60s, it was adopted by the Beach Boys or by Jackie Stewart, British Formula 1 champion.

In the 70s, the high priestess of punk, Vivienne Westwood, and her husband Malcolm McLaren, the manager of the Sex Pistol, made the tartan an emblem of the counter-culture.

Speaking of creators ...

Alexander McQueen and our national Jean-Paul Gaultier have worked a lot of plaid each in their own way. And well after the punk, the grunge of the 90's makes the tile one of its visual codes of reference with the icon Kurt Cobain. Then young and cool characters from the American series complete to make tile ultra-popular.

A whole generation of Parisian brands emerged from the iconic rock codes. While the hipster "beard + checks" became a prominent figure of the 2010 decade. Today, plaid, tartan and plaid are more than ever relevant in the street or on the catwalk in graphic and design versions or sexy and show off.

Thomas Zylberman
Fashion Expert

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