Review of Freedom Kilts (sans pictures)
Thank you Steve Ashton and the Staff at Freedom Kilts from Victoria, BC, for two wonderful garments that make me feel fantastic about myself and about wearing the kilt.
This is a review from a newbie and entirely my own opinion. If passion were like blood then there’s a sea of passion for the Celts from my spirit. From what I know of my background, I do not think I possess a drop of Celtic blood. It is my hope and my goal to make known the positive of my experiences in regards to the wearing of the kilt and to exult good work from kilt makers and producers. I apologize, in advance, should I insult anyone by way of my opinion, my use of terminology or anything else. I can assure you that to insult is not my goal.
I am beginning to realize I am computer inept and so I was unable to upload the pictures I have of me wearing the two kilts. I have these pictures in my albums within my profile and I believe you can access those. Thanks for all of the tech support from XTMS but alas, it is rocket science for me. I’m also leaving town for Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, so I don’t have time to figure it all out. I express to you all my apologies.
Upon deciding to wear the kilt, I’ve had to make choices about many things: occasions for its wear, reasons for wearing it, traditional vs. modern, aesthetics vs. comfort, style and kilt maker, what or what not to wear underneath, ethnicity/culture, sex appeal and yes, of course budget. Each one of us goes through his own process in decision-making and every one of us may have either additional choices for the list or may have to erase one or more choices from the list here presented. It is clear to me that initially one of my strongest priorities was budget.
I am very much so grateful for the availability of the many products that cater to budget AND I will never turn my nose up in the air when someone joining the fold is trying on anything resembling a kilt. It would be a blessing if in my days I were able to don the kilt as I do shorts, trousers or shirts. Also, I will see men who wear other forms of garments such as sarongs, as allies and I will support them in their wearing of such garments. The freedom to wear what one sees fit, whether man or woman is far more important to me than my own personal aesthetics. Others’ personal expression through the garments they wear is something I hope to always support and respect.
I have used both Utilikilts and Amerikilt products. I’ve also used a Stillwater Standard kilt, Sport Kilt products and I’ve even (Thank you Barbara Tewksbury & Elsie Stuehmeyer) delved into making my own kilts from instructions of one traditional method and my radical use of cotton materials or rather materials other than wool.
There was no question, after wearing mass-produced and yet excellently made products, that my preference was to don a garment made specifically to fit my body. My self-made, amateur and mediocre garments felt far better on me and to me. I have placed on order a Matthew Newsome in the Texas Bluebonnet tartan (I’m a native Texan/yardage from Scotland Forever in Plano, Texas) for June graduation ceremonies, and a July wedding, two Freedom kilts from Steve Ashton in Canada for fun activities in the summer and by the fall I will be ordering a Barbara Tewksbury in the Isle of Skye tartan to hopefully have ready to don for New Year’s Eve. These three popular kilt makers have gained my trust and respect. There are, indeed many other worthy kilt makers. I chose to begin with these three.
I chose Freedom Kilts because the customer can customize his own kilt, because the “swish” is a very important component, because in his measurements Ashton goes the step beyond to consider the naturally occurring slope between the back and the front of the body, because in his video about measuring he says “…and we’ll be honored to make you a kilt.” My choices were reinforced when in one of our phone conversations he told me I could use whatever type fastener I wished on any of his models. It was obvious he was going to make MY kilt and not simply just another cookie cutter kilt. I had a say in the design of MY kilt.
I have been looking at Freedom kilts for some time because Steve Ashton successfully stands out to me as being able to combine the traditional look of the kilt, the flexibility to have a say in the design of one’s kilt, the convenient features of modern trousers (pockets), the endurance of machine-sewn garments and the use of fabrics other than wool. He is an excellent designer, engineer and craft man. I plan to purchase more from him a tartan model in the American National Tartan 13oz wool: a beautifully designed tartan from Houston Kilt Makers in Scotland, and a Cargo model in work-weight fabric to name my next two. I will also readily and gladly recommend Freedom Kilts to any seeking a kilt maker who builds a garment specifically made to fit the user.
I recently received my two Freedom kilts one tartan model and a casual model. Both are for spring and summer revelry, for festivals, parties and camping. The tartan model is made out of PV material in the Stewart Hunting Modern (if only someone made Stewart Hunting Weathered in PV). The casual model is a winter weight Jalapeno Green 100% cotton fabric. I did say it was for summer use but I wanted a heavy garment, as I will be camping in the beautiful Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest where even in the middle of summer one needs something to provide warmth.
Both kilts are made to fit perfectly. They outline my body exactly at its measurements, thus complementing it. I feel absolutely comfortable with these garments. They are well designed, well built and made to endure. The casual’s under apron shows a bit at the edge. The tartan model does not have a fringed edge. Outside of these two things, which are “no big deal” really, both garments are most excellent. The pleats on the PV tartan model are nice and crisp. I’ve used it a dozen times already, standing, sitting, driving, teaching…etc. and I’ve not needed to do anything more than run my hands down on them or shake them into place. The pleats on the casual model are sewn all the way down on the edge so it’s easy to straighten them out after a wash and lightly iron them. The PV tartan model feels light on me, as if the garment is floating above and around my hips and waist. The casual model feels solid on me.
Customer service is very good and personable. Steve and I had an initial phone conversation where my vernacular on kilts failed his expectations. My subsequent calls were met with a bit of hesitancy as, being the personality that I am I had many questions about my decisions.
My advice to anyone planning to purchase Freedom Kilts is in two pieces: one, learn what you want first, explore all options on your own or with some friends or even in XMTS (I was embarrassed to do so) and two, study the Freedom Kilts website for the terminology used there and use that when speaking with Steve. When commenting on another kilt maker or company such as Utilikilts, use their terminology such as “MUGs” vs. “contemporary kilts” which is Steve’s term.
Again, I am grateful to all of you at Freedom Kilts. I am very glad you’re here.
"If I don't live out my own dreams, no one will live them out for me."
Thank you Sephy, a good all around review. I really like to here stuff that is not always glowing reports. You comments about our phone calls (of which I think there were 20 or so.) will let you better understand that I came by my reputation as a curmudgeon honestly.
When you get back from Texas I hope you will find a way to post some pics.
Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
I wear the kilt because: Swish + Swagger = Swoon.
not you but I
Originally Posted by The Wizard of BC
I think I wrote in my report that it was I who was questioning my decisions. One can only be so patient with a client who keeps on changing his mind time and time again. Your products are outstanding, excellent. Your customer service is great. I can certainly understand wanting someone to hurry up and decide what or what not to do.
Ultimately, it's your products that I'm after. Even if you had been a curmudgeon, which you weren't, you and your staff delivered two great garments. Not many offer what Freedom Kilts offers. But there definitely weren't 20 phone calls, maybe 5.
My avatar is the Stewart Hunting Modern.
"If I don't live out my own dreams, no one will live them out for me."
Nice review. I've taken the liberty of posting your pic for you.
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