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The Oldest Example Of “True Tartan” Was Discovered In The Scottish Highlands During The 1980s, And Now Researchers And Designers Have Worked Together To Recreate This Historic Textile For Modern Wear

Reed - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

Fashion trends tend to cycle over time, with styles from previous decades, or even centuries, making a comeback in the modern era.

A team of researchers and designers have banded together to recreate the oldest surviving piece of Scottish tartan for modern wear, allowing people to rock the historic plaid.

The Glen Affric tartan was uncovered in a peat bog in the Scottish Highlands during forestry work in the 1980s. Researchers from the Scottish Tartans Authority, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Scotland’s national cloth, used radiocarbon dating on the fabric and found that it dated back to around 1500 to 1600.

The experts declared that it was the oldest example of “true tartan” in Scotland. Tartan is a type of cloth that has crossing horizontal and vertical stripes in multiple colors, forming rectangular patterns.

In 19th-century Scotland, different clans were associated with their own patterns. The specimen from the peat bog did not match the patterns of any known clan tartans.

The fabric was stained by the peat, but researchers were able to analyze the dyes to figure out what it looked like. After studying eight dye samples, they determined that it had contained green, brown, red, and yellow.

Based on this information, experts from the Scottish Tartans Authority worked with designers from the House of Edgar, a manufacturer of tartan fabrics, to recreate the 16th-century pattern.

Peter MacDonald, the head of research and collections at the Scottish Tartans Authority, told CNN that they strived to “maintain the pattern and colors, but refining the shades to something that would have existed at the time but which also work today.”

He added that the original fabric was a “status piece,” most likely worn as a shawl or an upper body wrap by a person of high rank.

Reed – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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