Highland Haberdashery: Scottish Kiltmaking in The Twenty-first Century

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



The Scottish kilt is one of the world’s most renowned cultural garments, and the Highland dress industry contributes £350 million annually to the Scottish apparel industry. However, outsourcing and deceptive marketing tactics have negatively impacted the kiltmaking industry. The purpose of this study was to investigate Scottish kiltmakers’ knowledge and experiences as a basis for industry protection. A qualitative, phenomenological method employed interviews, observations, video and artefact analysis and prototyping to understand participant’s (n=17) experiences with learning and practising kiltmaking. Findings indicated that: (1) kiltmakers’ experience life-long learning through scaffolding, (2) kilt customers are not well informed of quality differences between genuine Scottish kilts and imports, (3) gender plays a role in pay inequality, lack of respect and quality of life issues for female kiltmakers and (4) kiltmakers agree that protection is necessary, however, they are unsure of how it would be realized.