Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Tartan – subversive, romantic, cliche, commodity, appropriated

Home Outlander Costuming Discussion Forums General Outlander Discussion Tartan – subversive, romantic, cliche, commodity, appropriated

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  • #7402

    I ran across this article in The Guardian earlier today: http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/apr/06/tartan-day-scotland-clothing-history. I found it very thought-provoking in the way it described the various ways tartan was worn, by whom, and for what reasons over the past ~300 years. The photos and descriptions of how Alexander McQueen not only used tartan, but named his collections Highland Rape and Widows of Culloden, were jarring and unsettling. I am having a hard time with on one hand his using a platform such as a fashion show to bring light to what he termed genocide, but on the other a fashion show is still just a means to sell stuff and publicize his brand. Mixing the two didn’t sit right with me.

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    • #7424

      Thanks so much for starting this discussion and for posting the link to the fascinating Guardian article. I think what Alexander McQueen did was important. He used the platform he had and his art to say something important and raise awareness. Reading the Guardian article, there have been times throughout history when wearing the plaid or a tartan pattern was not only subversive but a fashion statement, so in some ways his work reflected this. I personally object when corporations become “sponsors” of charities or causes (cause marketing) just to make themselves look good and make more money, but here McQueen used his art as well as his business to make a very personal as well as a very political stand. I think it was a good and important thing.

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