NEWLY released book Tartan And Tweed charts the journey of two fabrics from traditional cloth to haute couture fashion.

The book was written by Edinburgh-based duo Caroline Young and Ann Martin. Young is a journalist, fashion writer, blogger and author of the book Style Tribes – The Fashion Subcultures and Classic Hollywood Style. Martin is the author of popular Scottish blog Style Stamps as well as a freelance journalist.

Tartan And Tweed offers a comprehensive look into the chequered history of the fabrics from their origins in the Scottish Highlands to their reinvention in modern society.

Martin says: “We were both interested in celebrating the history of Scottish heritage fabrics, whilst proving that they can be designed and worn in fresh and innovative ways. So in the book we look at tartan and tweed’s place in popular culture and how the cloth has been adapted for street style and fashion. Both tartan and tweed were originally developed as practical weaves, designed to withstand the harsh Scottish weather, but the infinite variety of patterns we see today proves just how far these fabrics have come.”

The authors follow the early popularity of the fabrics, including historical connections to crofters, clans and aristocracy, and assess tweed’s dramatic recovery during a period of economic crisis and its subsequent transformation into a desirable, luxury fashion fabric.

“Over the last few years there’s been a renewed interest in tartan and tweed, with an encouraging resurgence in Harris Tweed in particular. Despite periods of decline, the market for Scottish textiles is growing in Japan, as is continued consumer interest in genuine heritage goods.”

The National:

Tartan And Tweed further explores the use of these fabrics in the collections of leading fashion designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Chanel. These design houses have each used the textiles in fresh, subversive ways whilst paying tribute to their history.

The authors also recognise that tartan and tweed are more than just textiles; rather they translate into multiple meanings. The textiles are frequently used in both street fashion and haute couture to mimic aristocracy or act as a symbol of rebellion.

In order to provide a complete overview, Young and Martin made use of first-person sources, historic documents, paintings and fashion photographs and took a research trip to the Hebrides.

Reminiscing about her experience, Martin says: “When I visit the Outer Hebrides I’m struck by the unspoiled natural beauty of the islands and the clear connection between the colours of the landscape and those found in the cloth.

"Both tartan and tweed are part of our national identity and it’s incredible to see how the fabrics have been manipulated over time in beautiful ways.”

Supported by lavish illustrations, Tartan And Tweed is a beautiful homage to the strong cultural identity and history of the fabrics, and a tribute to their growing and continued popularity within fashion design, music, art and film.

Tartan and Tweed by Caroline Young and Ann Martin, Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd, £25