In the recent years, plaid has become a must have in every person’s closet. It’s the print of the fall season; and because the leaves are starting to change and the temperature’s are dropping again, it’s the perfect time to dissect the print we know and love. So what’s the story behind the hipster-turned-fashion-staple?


Plaid, or Tartan, is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. The word tartan is derived from the Frend tiretain. This French word isderived from the verb tirer in reference to woven cloth. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is made with alternating bands of coloured (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft a right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simpl twill, two over – two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colours cross, which give the appearance of new colours blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of colour repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett.


It made it’s first fashion debut in the late 17th century in Scotland. Mostly fashioned in kilts, plaid became a symbol for rebellion against England. So much so, that it was banned for four decades. Wearing plaid after the Scottish rebellion in 1746 was forbidden. Plaid still holds as a symbol against society in general. By the 1960′s, plaid fabrics were used in skirts and shirts for women. It was used a lot for service and labor-orientated jobs. Outdoor men (hello, lumberjacks) became synonymous with red flannel plaid shirts. Hence, the iconic, rugged outdoors man became associated with long sleeve plaid buttons up (Think the Brawny man on papertowels). Today, plaid is used in other things other than skirts and shirts.


Celine Fall 2013
Celine Fall 2013

45d691abf5101c7de7dca2fe59b0a91eWhat are some ways the pattern inspires you? What are other ways you would use it in your collections to come?

Also, take a look at our Pinterest page for plaid inspiration.