Superbowl LIV between San Francisco ‘49ers and Kansas City Chiefs in the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida a few weeks ago was not only one of the greatest comebacks in Superbowl history, but the first-ever all-tartan final. Congratulations to Kansas City Chiefs and commiserations to San Francisco.
Behind the McBrayer tartan is the remarkable story of Tim Bruce Sanders and his family and what they are attempting to do on their farm in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in a remote corner of Kentucky. Their website is well worth a visit – www.indiancreeksettlement.com
From a fragment of ancient cloth in the archives of the Scottish Tartans Authority, International Tartans has been able to reproduce the McBrayer (McBrier) tartan in honour of their grandfather Ichabod McBrayer. The design will be used for labelling a wide range of local produce in the farm shop, and the cloth itself will be used by local craftworkers to make a range of hand-made tartan accessories for sale in the gift shop.
This unique social enterprise will be run in strict accordance with the ‘Land Ethic’ outlined by American environmental philosopher and naturalist Aldo Leopold:
”The Land Ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals, or collectively, the land.”
Aldo Leopold was a professor of wildlife management who was pivotal in the designation of Gila National Forest in New Mexico in 1924 as America’s first national wilderness area. Leopold introduced the concept of this land ethic, arguing that humans should transform themselves from conquerors of nature into citizens of it. In this, he was extending the preservationist philosophy of John Muir (1838–1914), founder of the Sierra Club and known as the father of conservation. Without men such as these, there might not be a planet left to save today.
Could our ancestors ever have imagined that the royal and ancient game of golf, a game invented and developed over five hundred years ago in Scotland, home to the world’s ruling body and so many world-famous courses, would ever become so popular? Perhaps. What they could never have foreseen though is that citizens of a nation-state which was only formed some 70 years ago on the other side of the world, would become so successful at playing it. Except they have and they haven’t.
Having three players in the ‘Top 100’ of the World Ranking List is no big deal. Even Scotland has one! But what would really astonish our ancestors, and has many of the ‘elite’ in the hallowed halls of our most prestigious clubs spluttering into their gin and tonics is that one country has thirty-seven nationals in their ‘Top 100’. I am course referring to the women of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), a species of golfer which was not even allowed inside certain clubhouses until recently. I wonder what would old Willie Auchterlonie make of the fact that there are more South Korean women called Lee (10) and Kim (7) in the ‘women’s Top 100’ than there are men from England, Scotland Ireland and Wales combined (14) in the male equivalent? Jings! (Just for the record Jings, thank goodness, is not a South Korean name. It’s Chinese).
I wonder how many of these elegant young women will be sporting the South Korean tartan on the course this season. Keep a sharp lookout.
And another thing. Congratulations from Scotland to Boon Jong-Ho, Director and Co-writer of ‘Parasite’ the film which picked up four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards recently. This South Korean production is the first-ever foreign-language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. A South Korean tartan tie is on its way to Boon Jong-Ho to mark the occasion.
The design of the Royal Navy tartan encompasses those colours historically associated with the Senior Service: red, white and blue for the various ensigns, royal purple for its title, and all in a setting of navy blue: the sea, the endless sea.
As such it is intended to provide a common bond between ‘sailors’ regardless of rank, and identity for informal occasions, and even everyday wear.
It is, however, more than just a symbol of brotherhood/sisterhood. International Tartans operates a policy of sharing and caring by contributing to ‘good causes’ with a nautical background.
Registered with the Scottish Tartans World Register No. STWR 2840
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Abiy Ahmed Ali, President of Ethiopia, “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.” The next initiative he says is to unite the 80 or so tribes and ethnic groups that make up the 105 million population in one of the world’s oldest and poorest countries.
The flag of Ethiopia uses the colours red, yellow and green, which have come to be known as the ‘Pan-African’ colours, and have been adopted into the flags of a dozen other nations. The Ethiopia tartan comprises these, along with the central blue circle and gold pentagram, to create a unifying symbol that embodies an entire nation. The unique qualities of tartan are such that this ‘national’, inter-tribal symbol can be used in a wide variety of ways and forms from every-day and ceremonial clothing and accessories, to giftware and printed paper goods.
Alache Malia Ode OBE, lecturer in International Development at Birkbeck College, University of London described each of the designs in the ‘tartans for Africa’ range as
‘Tartans that inspire self-pride, a kind of cultural connectivity that is positive by using a product from one culture to infuse cultural relevance in another. In a subtle way, it represents the entirety of what multiculturalism, interculturalism or whatever ‘isms’ seek to achieve.’
The world recognises tartan as Scottish in origin, but gifting this unique design to Ethiopia at a time when it is once again in the international spotlight can only highlight the ‘ism’ of our common humanity in a way that benefits both nations.
To celebrate President Abiy Ahmed Ali’s achievement International Tartans have created a unique gift in the Ethiopia tartan which will be sent to the Ethiopian Embassy in London for forwarding to Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopia tartan on display at ‘Tartans for Africa’ fashion show:
As we venture ever further into this great ocean of madness that has gripped our daily lives, every now and then we come across a little island of sanity that gives us hope. It may be small, tiny in fact in the great scheme of things, but hopeful nevertheless.
ReTweed is one such island: a social enterprise based in the picturesque town of Eyemouth on the Berwickshire coast where women are being trained in the traditional crafting skills, in what once the heartland of Scotland’s textile industry. Run by a small highly-efficient management team and staffed by dedicated volunteers, some sixty-four women of all ages have completed a certificated course which has given them the qualifications and skills needed to enter the world of work. It has also given them a unique opportunity to work as individuals and as part of a team. For me, a visit to ReTweed’s workshop in Eyemouth’s High Street is a happy few hours amongst happy people.
International Tartans has worked closely with ReTweed for the last three years. What began as a donation of scraps of tartan has developed into a commercial relationship in which ReTweed have supplied us with a wide range of tartan accessories for customers in over a dozen countries. We are currently working on the development of new products, but this latest venture by ReTweed is entirely their own. Bags are just bags you might say, but Bordersbags takes them to a new level. Made by graduate trainees from surplus curtain material these simple, practical Tote bags give everyone the opportunity to do something positive. As one supporter remarked:
“What a fantastic initiative, combining lots of really positive work in one amazing project! Supporting women, developing skills, bringing communities together, supporting entrepreneurs, reducing waste to landfill and reducing plastic, supporting food banks, it’s incredible!”
International Tartans has ordered four bags: two will be donated to the local foodbank and the two others will be sent as gifts to Greta Thunberg and Nicola Sturgeon. And as an added bonus for me personally, ReTweed has made my Christmas shopping into a no-brainer. Everyone will get a Bordersbag or a photograph of the one going to a foodbank in their name.
For more information about Bordersbags and how to order one visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bordersbags-from-retweed—plastic-free-bags
It may interest you to know that the good people of Catalonia actually have their own tartan. Commissioned by Catalans in Edinburgh the Catalunya Escocia tartan is registered no. 11163 on the Scottish Register of Tartans. The colours are based on the ‘Estelada’, the flag of the independence movement in Catalonia.
It was launched at a fashion show in Glasgow, the occasion being the ‘Football Fashionistas’ fashion show at the second Tartan & Turban Burns Supper at the Thistle Hotel in aid of ‘Show Racism the Red Card.’ It represented Barcelona.
The event was organised by the Sikh community in the West of Scotland and compered by Hardeep Sing Kholi. His fee was a kilt in the Spirit of India tartan.
Congratulations to Finland which has taken over the Presidency of the European Union Commission for the third time. Finland is a valued member of the International Tartans family.
From the Middle Ages, multitudes of Scots flocked to Russia, and some of them became the most famous names of the Scottish Diaspora. Literally, hundreds of Scots became distinguished in the history, industrial development and culture of this part of the Baltic. An envious English observer noted in 1805 that, ‘to come from the north side of the Tweed is the best recommendation a man can bring to St. Petersburg’. At this time modern-day Finland was a Grand Duchy and still part of the Russian Empire.
By one of these strange acts of fate master machinist James Finlayson of Penicuik’s arrival in St. Petersburg coincided with Czar Alexander I’s desire to promote Russia’s industrial development, and on a tour of the neighbouring Grand Duchy of Finland in 1820, Finlayson discovered the fast-flowing waters at Tammefors (Tampere):: the perfect place to make machinery for Russia’s fast-expanding empire. And from making textile machinery Finlayson soon progressed to making the textiles themselves. A devout Christian, Finlayson’s new factory at its peak employed over 3000 workers and was a model of good management.
And so Finland’s industrial revolution was born and Finland’s second city of Tampere arose.
The Finlayson brand still survives to this day as does his reputation as marked on his headstone. “His spiritual qualities and his love of mankind have seen his name being one deeply respected in Finland’s industrial and national history”
The Finnish tartan combines the colours in the flags of Finland and Scotland.
Registered with the Scottish Tartans Register No. 3179.
Colin Cameron and his wife Alison return to Malawi to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of his arrival in what was then the Preotectorsate of Nyasaland. A former Cabinet Minister in the first Malawian government and 16 years as Malawi’s Honorary Consul in Scotland Colin presented gifts of Malawi tartan scarves and ties and Golden Thistle badges to his hosts.
The MALAWI tartan is registered no. 3221 on the Scottish Register of Tartans. The colours are a combination of those in the flags of Malawi and Scotland. It is one of twenty-four tartans in the ‘Tartans for Africa’ range used to promote African countries internationally, whilst providing a valuable source of funds for humanitarian projects.
A number of Government Ministers, MP’s and MSP’s have presented Malawi tartan cloth and accessories to their counterparts in Malawi, and dozens of schools and charitable organisations in Scotland have been able to use the Malawi tartan to raise funds for a variety of projects throughout Malawi.