I thought I’d start a periodic series spotlighting textile patterns since fabric design is so much on my mind right now. Let’s begin with tartan since it’s trending again. It’s a cloth that has been around for centuries, but these iconic patterns are showing up everywhere from home decor to fashion.
Classic tartan is made with alternating bands of dyed thread woven together to form diagonal lines where the colors cross over and resulting in blocks of color in distinctive squares. Originating in Scotland, the woven patterns were at first regional and then later representative of clans, and by the 17th and 18th century, tartan was characteristic of Scottish Highland dress.
Recent press releases from American design houses declare new lines of tartan are being released since the woven pattern is returning to popularity, but classic tastemakers like Ralph Lauren have always carried it here in the States. The word “plaid” is used interchangeably with “tartan” so in retail so you’ll often find the tartan weave labeled as plaid.
I love tartan on upholstered accent chairs or as accent pillows, the rich colorful prints bring a masculine touch and the traditional pattern adds a sense of comfort.
Tartans and plaids will always be classic, they’re impactful when allowed to take the spotlight, from bedding to window treatments.