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  1. #1
    Join Date
    25th January 04
    Stratford, Ontario
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    How RKilts came into being

    I have been involved in theatre and opera for over thirty years. As a stagemanager , and for the courtesy of my fellow performers I would dress up on opening nights in the theatre world and wear a tux. Alas my tux wore out and I put on a few pounds and I needed a new set of formal attire. A friend of my wife’s suggested the most elegant thing to wear was a kilt ensemble. In the fall of 1999 I purchased my first kilt, an 8 yd Black watch, PC jacket sporrans, hose, sweater, sgain the works!
    I managed to acquire everything in time for the Canadian Premiere of a new Opera “Erewan” produced by Pacific Opera in Victoria B.C.
    It’s opening night I’m on the deck calling cues. I cue the ladies chorus and as each one goes on the stage they swipe my butt! Took me by surprise but I was liking this! As my wife says “He likes the attention”
    Problem... I only have one kilt. I didn’t want to wear the same thing every night. Funds for a new kilt were low. I did some reading on the internet, got some books on kilt making, advice from the local Scottish shop and started making my own traditional tartan kilts.
    At every theatre I worked at during the year I would ask the head of wardrobe , if I could get a small space to work on my kilts. During lunch breaks and days off I would be in there sewing up a kilt, talking to the tech folk as they watched the progress of the kilt.
    Unfortunately, that year I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was experiencing a number of attacks prior and it was difficult to work in the theatre full time.
    An interesting thing I discovered was when I wore a kilt, the MS symptoms were not as pronounced. Eureka! I need to wear a kilt everyday! My search of kilts brought me to work kilts. I liked the concept the function but the design for my taste was not there. Over the next couple of years I proceeded to design my own style of kilt integrating features that I liked.
    It turned out others liked what I did as well. I had no interest in making kilts for other folk. I suggested other makers, gave them websites...but they came back to me and pleaded to make them a kilt.
    Figuring that there might be a market, I made a business plan, registered a name, created a website bought a sewing machine and tried it out.
    There were some growing pains, but it worked out. I had a request for kilts made out of leather, did some more research and developed one of the best styles of leather kilts around. Global sales.
    I also wanted to build kilts out of different types of fabric. Hemp intrigued me and I fell in love with the properties and hand of this fabric. The R Kilt works extremely well in hemp, another winner.
    Over the years I learned to streamline the build, do all the work in house. The leather goods, the building is mostly done by me. My wife helps out on occasion, but I do 95% of it all.
    The shop now has a huge cutting table. Pressing area. A leather shop with dies and presses.
    I have 6 industrial sewing machines. I have a portable shop on a trailer that is equipped with a sewing machine, cutting table, racks to display kilts when I’m at Celtic fairs and Highland Games.
    You can get carbon credits! I use solar panels to create electricity to run my machines and lights while making hemp kilts.
    I’m having a blast! I got to personally deliver kilts to wonderful folk, meet Hamish..oh yeah and deal with that guy down under in Tasmania. The other bonus is being able to participate in this wonderful forum and kibitz with Rocky, Kelly, Steve and Bobby Pete, Robin as well as other talented folk in the kilt world.
    Robert, ,
    Last edited by highlandtide; 19th March 09 at 05:15 PM.

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