Unexpected Trends: Tartan and Plaid

The first in a continuing series of posts, Unexpected Trends will showcase and explore the meaning, history, and implementation of different types of ‘trends’ that are currently circulating in the revolving door of today’s fashion and design world.

In this first installment, we are featuring classic Tartans and Plaids. These types of patterns have been around for centuries and have connections to Scotland and the British Isles. Mostly these boxy or crisscross patterns were dedicated to and known for the various families that were found in the particular regions of these areas.

Nowadays, plaid patterns bring to mind images of hunters, loggers, and other ‘outdoorsy’-type fashions and lifestyles. Depending on the look you’re going for, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. TartanBut we’re not here to talk about how plaids are ordinarily used, we’re here to talk about how unexpected it is that they are now being used as an influence for high-end interior design as well as top end and couture fashions.

Though plaids and tartans are mainly showcased in the Fall/Winter collections of most fashion and textile houses, they are actually a quite versatile and harmonizing pattern! Depending on the type of plaid, there are many different colors that can be used and incorporated into these patterns. Plaids can be configured to be dark and moody, barely even recognizing the differences in color between the intersecting stripes. Conversely, bright bold stripes of color slashed between a lighter or darker background create a unique style of plaid. Using lighter, less dusky colors and playing with the scale also helps to bring a more feminine and soft aspect to a typically masculine pattern.

Mixing and matching is a huge trend in interiors and fashion at the moment and plaids are a great way to incorporate more pattern into a design without being too overwhelming. Don’t feel pigeonholed into using one type of plaid either. There are so many styles; from the classic Tartan and Indian Madras to mini-checks and Tattersall; plaid is, and has been, here to stay.

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