Campaigners for the cultural rights of minority peoples say that the wearing of tartan by non-Scots shows ignorance and racism. The claim has been made by self-appointed busybody organisation Kilty As Charged.
Tweets accusing popular singers and musicians of wearing clothing from countries and cultures different to their own appear regularly. Lana Del Rey was criticised for wearing a Native American headdress in her ‘Ride’ video a few years ago, and more recently, Coldplay were hauled over the coals for shooting a video in India with Beyonce dressed in some Indian clothes.
Kilty As Charged released a statement yesterday in a move to jump on the bandwagon of righteous indignation. “We abhor the use of tartan outside of Scotland, and/or by people of non-Scottish descent. Tartan has a rich and sacrosanct history in Scotland, and causes us much offence to see Americans or Italians wearing it. People should stick to their own nationality’s clothing.”
Founder of the group Hamish McGregor meets us in his local Kilmarnock pizzeria. A tall ginger man with long dreadlocks tumbling down his back, he cuts an imposing figure. “I saw someone wearing tartan socks the other day. This guy had an American accent. When I confronted him about his socks and where he got them, he just shrugged and said he bought them from Target in New Jersey for $3. And he referred to them as plaid, which is frankly an insult.”
McGregor has come under fire himself for having dreadlocks when he clearly isn’t a Rastafarian. He says he finds the accusation ridiculous, and he can wear his hair how he bloody well likes.