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Friday, 23 July 2010

The Burberry Tartan

Burberry is a brand of clothing that uses the tartan look. Burberry started out in the mid 1850s as designer wear for the upper classes.

The burberry 'plaid' is a tartan recognized by the Scottish Tartan Authority (WR1239). Most people confuse the terms tartan and plaid. In modern terms, a tartan is a weave of coloured threads registered with the Scottish Tartan Authority as a clan or district tartan, a national or corporate tartan, designed to denote a group of people.

For example, the Scottish Parliament recently authorized the use of a new tartan to commemorate its 10th anniversary. Canada and its provinces have official and unofficial tartans to represent their populations. The tartan recognized widely as that of the province of Quebec is, in fact, a corporate tartan designed by a clothing manufacturer.

Similarly, the burberry plaid was designed by the Thomas Burberry company, first for use as lining for its trenchcoats in the 1920s. It is a corporate design used in clothing manufacture but has become so popular that it is one of the most copied trademarked designs in existence.

Historically a plaid had very little to do with tartans, as it was the term for a large piece of cloth worn draped by Highland men and women. Clans began to weave these cloths in patterns that came to represent membership in that group and eventually the terms became synonymous.

So, the Burberry plaid is a tartan. Only in North America, though, are the terms plaid and tartan mistakenly interchanged.

1 comment:

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