Tartan at the V&A Dundee celebrates the global story of a unique pattern – how the rules of the grid have inspired creativity from the everyday to the sublime. The instantly recognisable symbol of Scotland, a global textile of tradition, rebellion, oppression and fashion, tartan has connected and divided communities worldwide, inspiring great works of art as well as playful and provocative designs.

It is Scotland’s first major exhibition in 30 years focusing solely on the iconic textile and pattern, and features several garments from the Westminster Menswear Archive, including a tartan evening jacket from the 1950s, BOY London punk bondage trousers, a man’s tartan smock dress by Gucci, a CC41 Utility sweatshirt top, and a Palm Angels tartan tracksuit jacket.

Also on show is a full runway look from Owen Edward Snaith, who graduated from BA Fashion Design in 2022 and whose outfit was acquired by the Westminster Menswear Archive last year. 

Andrew Groves, Director of the Westminster Menswear Archive said, ‘We have been working closely with the show’s consultant curator, Professor Jonathan Faiers, and have been able to source specific garments for the exhibition. In addition, due to the archives’ policy of collecting examples of graduate work, we were able to lend the V&A a deconstructed tartan trench coat from Priya Ahluwalia’s 2018 graduate MA Menswear collection, as well as Owen Edward Snaith’s graduate outfit. 

The Great Fishwife couture kilt ensemble by Owen Edward Snaith is a radical reworking of a traditional féileadh-mór, or belted plaid, and is made from his ‘Incentive’ tartan, which was specially woven for him by Taffled Threads in Alloa, Scotland.

Find out more on the V&A Dundee website.