Historically speaking (100 years ago +), the Welsh did not wear the kilt or "cilt" as they spell it, but with the rise in popularity of the kilt in the mid 1990’s and registration of the Irish County tartans in 1996, the Welsh felt a surge in their Celtic pride as well. The Welsh tartans, which cover 35 surnames and 2 Universal designs, were registered a few years later in the year 2000.
Wanting to honor tartan and the kilt, but not directly copy a Scottish tradition, the Welsh tartans were designed to be slightly different from their Scottish counterparts. They are designed with a different warp (horizontal lines on the kilt) and weft (vertical lines on the kilt). This gives them a more “rectangular” or “striped” appearance where typical Scottish tartans have more of a “square / box” appearance.
Here is an example of a Scottish Tartan, MacLean Duart Red Modern. We've taken the image and placed next to the exact same image turned 90*. Note that the image looks effectively the same:
Here is an image of the Welsh tartan, Howell. We've taken the image and placed it next to the exact same image, turned 90*. Note that the tartan looks different in the 2 photographs. Focus on the wide red stripes running one direction and the thin red stripes running the opposite direction:
Welsh highland wear accessories are another way that the Welsh like to differentiate themselves from the Scots and Irish accessories on the market. Welsh accessories often come in gold or with gold accents. This helps to differentiate them from the chrome / silver finish of Scottish and Irish highland wear. Their sporrans also typically have 2 tassels instead of 3 that the Scots have.
Here are several examples of Welsh accessories, juxtaposed with Scottish accessories:
The most common element of our Welsh kilt accessories is the Welsh Dragon which is emblazoned on their flag.
The wonderful thing about the Welsh tartans, aside from their originality, is the fact that they are all woven in Wales. The Welsh Tartan Centre (the company who owns the copyright on the Welsh Tartans) has all their wool cloth woven at the Cambrian Woollen Mill in Powys, Wales. The Cambrian Woollen Mill is over 185 years old and while there was a large weaving industry in Wales in the mid 19th century, today it stands as one of the last woollen mills in Wales. When you buy a kilt made from Welsh tartans, you are truly supporting Welsh craftspeople.
There are 37 registered Welsh tartans, which have been growing in popularity since their design in 2000. If you’re interested in Welsh tartans or accessories, we are happy to help! Iechyd Da!