Check, plaid, tartan (call it what you will) is perhaps one the most widespread and easily recognised of fabric patterns in the world. Dating from the 6th century BC, the earliest known example of this iconic cloth was discovered in Austria’s Halstatt salt mines where it had been perfectly reserved for millennia.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the word check hails from the equally popular board game, whose name in turn derives the ancient Persian language for king, ‘shah’. In Scotland, what Americans may refer to as ‘plaid’, the Scots have called ‘tartan’. Much confusion often surrounds these two common terms and the difference that exists between them. It is quite simple; tartan is made in Scotland and bears the legacy of the clans who have worn it for centuries. The word plaid is given to virtually the same cloth, but produced or worn outside of Scotland.

Check is characterised by its signature stripes of varying widths and colour which run vertically and horizontally along the fabric. Originally, these colours were dictated not be the weaver or customers’ taste, but by the availability of vegetable dyes in a particular region in Scotland. Today our course, when it comes to check fabrics, the world is our oyster.

For our Autumn Winter 2017 collection, we opted for warming burgundy, midnight blue and siren red in our checks. Shop Smyth & Gibson checks here >



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