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  1. #1
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    Weathered and muted Tartans, Why?

    Please educate me. Why is there a weathered and/or muted tartans of a dress tartan? What is the purpose for this? Is it just used to increase sales or is there a historical significance to weathered or muted coloring? I happen to love the MacDonald Clanranald weathered tartan, looks so different than the Modern dress, and I am considering to have another kilt made but concerned this might be looked down upon or not considered a true tartan. Any thoughts, please educate me.

    Thanks...
    Last edited by CollinMacD; 20th August 18 at 10:40 AM.
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, West River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

  2. #2
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    If ya' like it, wear it. It's a way for the weavers to sell more tartan and please more customers. Few of them are recognized by clan chiefs, but some of them are truly beautiful. (The tartans, not the chiefs.)
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Father Bill View Post
    Few of them are recognized by clan chiefs
    Huh, first I heard of that. I was under the impression that as long as the sett was correct, chiefs generally didn't care about the colour variants. After all, everybody accepts the "ancient" colourways, right? The muted and weathered are just extensions of that, in many ways. I'd be interested to know which chiefs have a problem with it, and what their official positions are.

    Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, current chief of Clan Colquhoun, obviously accepts them since his wife wears a dress in the Reproduction Colquhoun. My favorite kilt is in this Reproduction palette, and (to answer the OP's question), I just like this general colour scheme. No different than choosing a red car over a blue car. It gives consumers a choice to personalise their kilt a little more to their liking instead of everyone wearing the exact same colours. Yes, these schemes were invented by weavers to sell more product.
    Last edited by Tobus; 20th August 18 at 11:07 AM.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    Huh, first I heard of that. I was under the impression that as long as the sett was correct, chiefs generally didn't care about the colour variants. After all, everybody accepts the "ancient" colourways, right? The muted and weathered are just extensions of that, in many ways. I'd be interested to know which chiefs have a problem with it, and what their official positions are.

    Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, current chief of Clan Colquhoun, obviously accepts them since his wife wears a dress in the Reproduction Colquhoun. My favorite kilt is in this Reproduction palette, and (to answer the OP's question), I just like this general colour scheme. No different than choosing a red car over a blue car. It gives consumers a choice to personalise their kilt a little more to their liking instead of everyone wearing the exact same colours. Yes, these schemes were invented by weavers to sell more product.
    This has been my understanding as well. The Chiefs of Clan Donald don't seem very worried about what tartan their clansmen wear. I have heard an anecdote that Lord Godfrey views Lord of the Isles (green) as his personal tartan but I don't think it's official in any way.

    The only official statement on tartans that I've ever seen published by a Chief is the Campbell one here.

    And who can understand why a Campbell does anything?

    I really do like the weathered MacDonald tartans. I've been thinking it would be good for a "field" kilt. Good for the fall pheasant and dove fields.
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

  6. #5
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    I guess that's the point. Most of the clan chiefs are silent on the variations - not condemnatory, just silent. Some even wear them without making any official statements in favour of them.

    Just interesting.

    Hope I've got it right though!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

  7. #6
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    Matt Newsome had an article on the chiefs and tartans. He mentions that the MacGregor chief, whom he has met and discussed tartan with, is pretty well versed in his own clans tartans and their history:

    https://albanach.org/clan-chiefs-and...s-4d3afd3221fc

    Here's an interesting snippet:

    "All of this illustrates the fact that tartan is a confusing subject, and we cannot expect all the various weavers and tailors and retailers to suddenly be on the same page as the academics and the clan chiefs. And to be fair, tartan has been an industry in Scotland far longer than it has been in the domain of the chiefs. The precedent of deferring to a clan chief regarding tartan was set back in 1815 when the Highland Society of London requested clan chiefs to donate a sample of their tartan for collection. Many clan chiefs had no idea what “their tartan” was supposed to be; so they did what people today still do when looking for tartan information. They wrote to the manufacturers and requested a sample."
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

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  9. #7
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    In very general terms - When a Tartan is designed, it is the pattern that is designed. So many yarns of blue followed by so many yarns of green. We use the letters B and G. We do not normally specify what color of blue or green.


    For an example the Black Watch (Modern colorway) is what the design looks like when dyed with modern dyes. The colors are deep and vivid.



    But - We can change the colors to simulate what the same Tartan may look like if natural dyes were used. These are what the weavers call the "ancient" version.



    The weavers can change the colors again to simulate what the design may look like after being out in the sun and faded for 40 years. This is the "weathered" color version.



    All three of these are exactly the same Tartan design.




    If you replace one of the background colors with white you create a lighter, more feminine looking Tartan, more like a ladie's dress.



    Now, please understand that this is not universal.

    One weaver chose to use colors that they felt would look more like what they though the design would look like in earlier times and they use the words "reproduction".

    One weaver chose the word 'muted' for their color pallett of softer colors.

    It is about offering customers more options, and hopefully, selling more fabric.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post

    Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, current chief of Clan Colquhoun, obviously accepts them since his wife wears a dress in the Reproduction Colquhoun. My favorite kilt is in this Reproduction palette, and (to answer the OP's question), I just like this general colour scheme. No different than choosing a red car over a blue car. It gives consumers a choice to personalise their kilt a little more to their liking instead of everyone wearing the exact same colours. Yes, these schemes were invented by weavers to sell more product.

    I actually remember about a half dozen years ago when I was getting my Colquhoun reproduction from Dalgliesh reading on the chiefs website that the Chief recognized the modern and ancient variation only. I was somewhat disappointed but ordered the cloth regardless.. I had seen hire kilts in the Colquhoun and figured if those with no affiliation were wearing an 'approved' variety then I could reverse engineer and wear an 'unapproved' one. It was just this last week or so that I realized his wife , Katharine , was wearing the repro in a photo. I guess sometimes even the chief will bow to the will of his lady. ?!? When I saw the picture I did a quick search of 'chief colquhoun recognized tartan' and came up empty handed.

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  13. #9
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    When I had Alberta run, the weaver suggested we bring the colour palette up a bit. The result is far more vibrant than what is usually seen, and it gets many compliments. The weaver called it Alberta Modern. Though I don't know if that is official in any way, that is how I describe it when asked.

    Interestingly, perhaps, Alberta Dress is not a change of colours but is its own sett.

  14. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FossilHunter View Post

    I really do like the weathered MacDonald tartans. I've been thinking it would be good for a "field" kilt. Good for the fall pheasant and dove fields.
    I agree. I have my modern dress and ancient MacDonald Clanranald, and just love the MacDonald Clanranald Weathered.



    I will have this made eventually....
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, West River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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