Liberty Leonard Shaw on plaid
Yesterday it was take your daughter to work day and Liberty, aged 14, spent the day in the Selvedge office. She stuffed envelopes, processed subscriptions and scanned our latest press coverage to go on the website. She also interviewed Grace about her job and her qualifications. All in all the world of work seems quite a bit harder than she had imagined it might be. This is a blog post she wrote about her favourite fashion item; the plaid shirt.
Whether you wear plaid as a tribute to punk or as a preppy accessory, it is hard to deny the omnipresence of this pattern in the modern generation. Before being adopted into mainstream culture by American factories in the pre-civil war era, plaid was used by Scottish Highlanders as a mark of clan identity. In fact we have much to thank our Celtic ancestors for, as they were the creators of flannel, wearing it as an alternative to their plain wool alternative.
Its rebellious connotations were first sewn in 1746 when the British banned plaid after four years of Scottish revolution. The first hint at it’s future global popularity comes at the turn of the 20th century when, perhaps because of its association with soldiers, the plaid shirt became a symbol for rugged men. It’s demographic widened in the 1970’s when it simultaneously became part of a more sexualized look as well as being secured as a staple grunge piece, especially Royal Stewart Tartan. Once again, 200 years later plaid was becoming a symbol of rebellion.
The prime time for plaid and grunge came in the 1990’s where bands like Nirvana, The Breeders, and Pearl Jam unofficially named the plaid flannel shirt the symbol of the grunge movement.
Today, many different demographics have interpreted plaid differently. While models still pair a plaid skirt with a messy bun and perfect makeup others take on a more rebellious look. One thing’s for sure, this trend will continue to evolve and never go out of style.
Well written and informative. Perhaps a writing career in your future?
Have memories of the plaid flannels of Pendleton and the like looking so crisp and well made to the more unimaginative and down right ugly “buffalo” plaids.