Tartan was originally created in the Highlands of Scotland as a means of identifying people common to a region or family or clan. Usually a woollen woven fabric, "tweed", would be checked in the weave to a regional distinction and then dyed with whatever vegetable dyes were available. Consistency of colour would have been therefore dependent on the season and availability.

Banned after the 1745 Jacobite rebellion and only repealed in 1782, the wearing of tartan became part of the acceptable face of recruiting for the British Army. Distinctive regimental tartans and famous Highland Regiments were born.

Many variants of many clans are available today. There will be a tartan that almost anyone can associate with. Even football teams have their own conceptions! Few sights nevertheless have become more colourful and symbolic than the male figure in full Highland Dress. Soldiers from the Highlands became known by the Japanese as the “Ladies from Hell.”

In Scotland these days, whatever your name, someone will find you an affiliation with a clan and tartan and sell you a £2,000 Highland Dress outfit to cement the deal. Beware .....