Editorial » History
While many people think of Buffalo Plaid as a statement from the American West, its origins in fact hail from the Rob Roy tartan of Clan McGregor in Scotland. A descendent of the Scottish clan ultimately settled in Montana and brought with him the classic textile. This relative traded heavy woven blankets in the style of his family's infamous black and raid plaid tartan for buffalo pelts, giving way to the nickname "buffalo plaid."While we Americans refer to the pattern as plaid, the correct term is in fact tartan. It is said that the Cheyenne and Sioux warriors that traded with Jock McCluskey, the Scottish descendant in Montana, could not properly pronounce the Gaelic word pladger, meaning tartan, and instead referred to the textiles as plaid. The Indians were in awe of the deep red color in the original tartan and believed it to be dyed with the blood of McCluskey's prey and conquests. These American Indians wore this McGregor tartan in battle for protection and good luck.
Have you ever wondered where the idea for scarves originated? Or who first wore a scarf as a fashion accessory? Scarves our are passion so we've done the research and found the history of scarves in fashion to be quite fascinating!
Multiple ancient societies utilized scarves in different ways. The scarf can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Chinese emperors.
The first known scarves were worn in Ancient Egypt and were a symbol of social status. Egyptian scarves were made of silk. Queen Nefertiti was seen wearing a silk scarf as a wrap underneath her iconic, flat top headdress.
During the reign of Chinese Emperor Cheng, members of the military wore scarves made of cloth around their necks. Historians believe the different color cloth scarves were used to demonstrate rank within Cheng's army.
Ancient Romans also wore cloth scarves; however, their intended purpose was to help the Romans keep clean and not warm. The Romans referred to the scarf as "sudarium" which loosely translates to "sweat cloth" in English as they were used to wipe away the sweat from their necks and faces during hot weather. While these early scarves were originally worn by men, Roman women began to use them shortly thereafter.
During the Middle Ages, Eleanor of Aquitaine inspired women to wear scarves as a decorative part of their wardrobe. She started the trend by wearing colorful scarves hanging from her headdress. Wealthy women quickly copied her style while poorer women simply wore linen scarves tied around their heads.
A few centuries later, Croatian soldiers of all rank began to wear scarves as a part of their uniform. Higher ranking officers wore silk scarves while the lower ranks wore cotton. Some Croatian soldiers served as mercenaries with the French army. From here, French soldiers adopted the trend and carried it to France where silk scarves would become the precursor to men's silk neckties.
Shortly thereafter, the mantilla gains popularity throughout Spain. This garment was a silk or lace shawl that was worn draped from the head down to the shoulders.
By the mid-1800s, modern day accessories companies begin creating and selling scarves for mass consumption. Both Hermes and Burberry are founded during the time.
Scarves continued to evolve throughout the 20th century including the rise of new fabrics and materials, such as fur, and the expansion of brands and manufacturers.
The herringbone pattern originated during the Roman Empire. Herringbone is an adaptation of an older pattern called Opus Spicatum, or "spiked work." Although we most commonly see herringbone as a textile pattern or interior design concept nowadays, it was first a construction method for olden day roadways created by the Romans. It was originally inspired by and named for the shape and pattern of the bones of the herring fish. The Romans arranged pavement stones in a herringbone pattern as it was much more sturdy under compression than a simple straight line as the chevron shape allowed for pressure to be spread over more bricks. Though the Romans created the herringbone shape for construction purposes, the Egyptians used herringbone patterns in their jewelry.
In terms of herringbone patterned textiles, the herringbone pattern first emerged in fabrics in ancient day Ireland dating back to 600 B.C. One of the oldest known examples of herringbone fabric is the Shroud of Turin, currently housed in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Northern Italy. Some believe that the shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth.
After the fall of the Roman empire, these herringbone and chevron patterns became virtually extinct in society until resfurfacing again many decades later in architecture during the European Renaissance. Brunelleschi's Duomo in Florence helped to spur the resurgence of the herringbone pattern across Europe. Brunelleschi used the herringbone method of laying bricks in the cupola in order to add extra strength and solidity to the structure.
Herringbone patterns are most often found in woven fabrics of various natural fibers (wool, linen, etc) and utilized to make apparel products such as men's suits and other woven accessories. Though herringbone has a long history in Irish textiles, it also gained popularity in Italy which is where it became a staple fabric for suiting and clothing.