Here are a few fun facts about everybody's favorite fabric:
1. Love Me Tartan: Elvis Presley has no less than three tartans to his name. The singer is said to have roots in Lonmay, a tiny village in Aberdeenshire, and in 2004 local designer Mike King created an official Presley of Lonmay tartan in his honour followed by a modern version a few years later. The Scottish Tartan Registry also lists the Presley of Memphis tartan by Brian Wilton, which is based on the colours of the US flag with a gold stripe to represent Elvis’ multiple Gold Discs. It even has a thread count of 42 – the age the King was when he died.
2. One giant leap for tartankind: Alan Bean, an American astronaut of Scottish descent, took a little piece of MacBean tartan up to the moon during his Apollo 12 mission in 1969. Despite some rumours to the contrary, he didn’t leave his clan’s colours to float around in space forever: he took the material back to Earth and donated it to Clan MacBean and to the St Bean Chapel in Fowlis Wester, Perthshire.
3. Tartan trendsetters: Nowadays Queen Victoria may not be known as a fashionista, but she’s partly to thank for tartan’s popularity today. A fan of all things Scottish, she turned up to the Great Exhibition in 1851 with her young sons, Albert and Alfred, decked out in full Highland attire. Sales of plaid went through the roof, and became a particularly popular choice for schools. Since then tartan has been seen on uniforms not only in the UK, but also in countries such as the US, the Philippines and Japan.