Pipe bands continually strive for exclusive identity and only a few have gone so far as to create their own unique tartan. On St. Andrew’s Day, November 30th, the Scotweb company plans to start taking orders for special runs of material via its “Design your own tartan” online tool.
Other online tartan design applications have been made available previously, but Scotweb is integrating its services to include assistance with design, coordination with the Scottish Register of Tartans, milling of material, production of kilts and delivery fulfillment.
According to Managing Director Nick Fiddes, his company can create a special order of a single “top-class” kilt with a self-designed tartan for less than £350, which he says is “about half what most firms would charge for a special weave kilt, let alone a special design.”
Fiddes contends that their custom tartan design application is “far more true to tartan design principles, weaving requirements, conveniences like modifying recorded designs, and generally nicer to use.”
He says that a large share of Scotweb’s market already comprises pipers and pipe bands.
“This free online tool allows families, clubs or individuals to create their own new traditions, by designing tartans that can be produced as garments, and passed down the generations,” Fiddes said. “Instead of costing hundreds or thousands of pounds for the services of an expert as it did previously, everyone can now design their own tartan at virtually no expense, with more creative control than ever before. Traditional family colours can be combined to create a new pattern honouring a surname, or organizations and groups can join together to create designs celebrating notable events. Inhabitants of a town or village could even get together to create a new design.”
In 1998 the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band developed its own “78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band” tartan. Field Marshal Montgomery also created its exclusive “Drumalig” tartan in 2007, which replaced the Royal Stewart that the band had worn for decades.
One of the first pipe bands to create a unique tartan was Invergordon Distillery, which in the 1960s developed a special weave of the Red Gordon tartan that only the band wore.