McAnglos reveal designs on independence

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The Tenmaya department store in Okiyama, Japan, has one; as has the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. And, though Prince Charles Edward Stuart might be turning in his grave, the English are also in the club. They, too, have now got their own tartan, writes James Cusick.

The clan McEnglish does not exist. There is no heraldic ancestry for the McAnglos. But such pedantic familia has not stopped a group of non- native Scottish National Party supporters commissioning a tartan from one of Scotland's leading designers, Donald Fraser, and the "Independence" tartan is now officially registered with the Scottish Tartan Society.

The blue and white of the ancient cloth - to be seen on kilts, scarves and probably golf club covers - signifies the Scottish saltire (the flag of Scotland); its touches of yellow and black are the colours of the SNP. From his design studio in North Berwick, Mr Fraser said: "I was approached by the group, New Scots for Independence, to design the tartan. I think one of their worries was that in the event of independence they would face repatriation."

The tartan is supposed to serve as a symbol of reassurance that repatriation is not part of SNP policy. Now Mr Fraser and his wife, Fiona, a garment designer, have taken delivery of 60 metres of the double-width material to make skirts, waistcoats and dresses. A heavy-duty cloth is also in the pipeline, crucial for the Scots Anglo who needs that crucial part of Celtic heritage - the kilt.

The irony of the English championing their own tartan will not be lost on historians. After the last rising of the Scottish clans in 1745, the wearing of tartan was banned. It was only a visit to Scotland by George IV in 1822 that resurrected it. Sir Walter Scott, the best copywriter the Scottish tourist industry never employed, whipped up tartan fever by ensuring the sovereign saw hundreds of new designs.

The tartan industry has grown to include about 2,500 designs, and there could be more to come. Scotland's leading textile college in Galashiels now has computer software to create tartans on screen. The "Independence" is the latest computer-assisted creation.

Comments