Friday, 3 July 2009

Gathering of the clans

Fashionista has been on her travels - to Scotland. As she read The Edinburgh Evening News last week, Fashionista's eye was caught by an article about a very Scottish fashion item - tartan. Lord Jamie Sempill, vice-convener of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, has called for a "tartan trade mark" to prevent cut-price kilts being passed off as authentically Scottish, adding that the peddling of "budget kilts and knitwear" was a "disservice" to Scotland's international visitors. Added Lord Sempill:
"The point is to make it very clear that when you pick up a tartan scarf or other tartan product, that there is a legal requirement for it to state its country of origin.

Tartan is produced and woven around the world to a very high quality, but there is a difference between something that is produced in Scotland as opposed to something produced in Lahore.

I have no problem with the quality of some of these items necessarily, but I think we're doing a great disservice to international visitors who want to take home something genuinely Scottish but end up going away with something produced in China or India".
The proposed mark would not preclude budget kiltmakers such as The Gold Brothers, whose budget clothing stores dominate the Royal Mile, continuing to sell cheap internationally produced products -- so long as they made it clear that those products were made abroad. Gold Brothers partner responded that Galab Singh said all of his company's products already had the country of origin clearly marked on the label.

The Scottish Tartans Authority has already called on the European Parliament to extend its geographical protection scheme to include products other than food and drink, giving heavyweight legal protection to descriptions such as "Scottish tartan", "Scottish kilt" or "Highland kilt".

It's an exciting thought that the European Union's scheme for the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin might be extended to cover items of clothing. Lace from Bruges and Dutch wooden clogs are also possible contenders for protection. And here's some advice from Fashionista: when it's cold and windy, you can keep warm under your tartan kilt by donning some stylish Tyrolean lederhosen.