Every year, Pendleton hosts a Tartan Party in each of our stores. These are spirited, fun events. We celebrate with fantastic discounts, free shipping of gifts across the USA, and refreshments. We send home a commemorative plaid ornament with everyone we can.
Some of our customers are modern descendants of a specific clan or sept, and they wear their tartans with pride. And some of our fans just know a great plaid when they see one. Some customers wonder what the difference is between a tartan and a plaid.
Well, all tartans are plaids, but not all plaids are tartans.
Tartans were originally regional designs, worn as “plaids,” pieces of fabric worn slung over the shoulder. Scotland’s warriors wore their plaids with pride. The Dress Act of 1746 was passed to bring the warrior class under control, and their plaids were banned. That’s right, tartans were illegal; inflammatory and subversive.
When the Dress Act was repealed in 1782, tartans were no longer worn as ordinary Highland dress. They were adopted as the official national dress of Scotland. Tartan grew from regional plaid to warrior garb to a badge of kinship. This may explain the passion of modern tartan researchers and enthusiasts. These patterns are a visual illustration of the bond between personal and political freedom.
We’re not tartan experts at Pendleton, just fabric experts. When we use these designs in blankets, jackets, shirts, skirts or coffee cups, we do it with respect. Our designers refer to rare reference books stored under archival conditions in our design department…and please don’t ask to see them because they will not hold up to visitors, so we have to say no. We also use modern tartans, like Canada’s Maple Leaf, and our own Pendleton Hunting Tartan, registered with the Scottish Tartan Society in 1999.
We do different things with different tartans every year, but Black Watch Tartan is almost always present in our women’s, men’s and home lines.
This is also known as the Government or 42nd tartan. It was developed to wear by the Black Watch, one of the early Highland Independent Companies. From a distance, the pattern reads as dark as night, so it is the stealth tartan, the ninja of tartans. It’s also one of our perennial bestsellers.
You see tartans all the time, but believe us, there’s more to these plaids than you might know. So put on your plaid and come see us for the Tartan Party, going on December 5th through 8th in Pendleton Retail Stores and Outlets.