Manufacture and Design

From the mid-eighteenth century, tartan design and manufacture began to be carried out within large-scale commercial enterprises, rather than primarily being the concern of local weavers. The firm Wilson's of Ban-nockburn was the most prominent tartan manufacturer from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries and Cheape claims that they "were mainly responsible for creating tartan as we know it today" (Cheape, p. 52 ). Their archive indicates that they catered to a fashionable market eager to consume new patterns named either after ancient clans or popular Scottish figures such as Sir Walter Scott. In addition to their prodigious innovation in tartan design, they also contributed to the modernization of tartan manufacture by "regularizing the sett, colors, and thread count" involved with each design (Rawson, Burnett, and Quye, p. 20).

Throughout the twentieth century tartan retained its role as both an internationally recognized symbol of "Scottishness" and as an attractive fashion textile. Tartan is currently widely worn by Scots as Highland dress on formal occasions and also to sporting events. Since the 1970s tartan has featured in the subcultural dress of skinheads, rockabillies, and punks, as well as being prominent in the work of international designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Alexander McQueen.

See also Kilt; Scottish Dress.


Cheape, Hugh. Tartan, the Highland Habit. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland, 1995.

MacKillop, Andrew. "More Fruitful than the Soil": Army, Empire and the Scottish Highlands, 1715-1815. East Linton, U.K.: Tuckwell Press, 2000.

Morgan, Kenneth O. The Oxford History of Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Rawson, Helen, John Burnett, and Anita Quye. "The Import of Textile Dyes to Scotland: The Case of William Wilson and Son, Tartan Weavers of Bannockburn, 1780-1820." Review of Scottish Culture 13 (2000-2001): 18-29.

Scarlett, James D. "Tartan: The Highland Cloth and Highland Art Form." In Scottish Textile History. Edited by John Butt and Kenneth Ponting. Aberdeen, U.K.: Aberdeen University Press, 1987.

-. Tartan: The Highland Textile. London: Shepeard Wal-

wyn, 1990.

Fiona Anderson

TATTOOS Tattooing is a process of creating a permanent or semipermanent body modification that transforms the skin. The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian tatau, which means "to mark something"; it is also hypothesized that the term comes from the sound the tatau sticks make when clicking together to mark the skin with ink. Tattooing is a process of puncturing the skin and depositing pigments, usually indelible ink, by a variety of methods beneath the skin to create a desired design or pattern. Tattoos range from "blackwork," large areas of heavy black ink in designs, to fine details and elaborate color schemes including fluorescent inks.

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100 Fashion Tips

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