Nowadays, there are kilts for every style, budget and occasion. Utility kilts, party kilts, hire kilts, high street shops’ made-to-measure kilts, second hand or new… among these categories, you will find machine made kilts, “hand finished kilts”, “made-to-measure kilts” and less often, bespoke fully hand-stitched kilts. Which one to go for is an individual decision that should not be judged negatively. But we’ll assume that if you made it to this blog post, it’s most likely because you are at least, curious to understand if a bespoke kilt is for you.
Very early on in our kiltmaking journey, we decided we would only be making bespoke kilts, in our own name, as opposed to working for kilt shops or other businesses. Having complete control over what we do from start to finish is essential to us, as we want every kilt that leaves our atelier to be as perfect as it can be. If you’re interested in knowing what we mean by “bespoke kilt”, and how we make them, keep reading!
Bespoke measuring and fitting
While most people might use the words “bespoke” and “made-to-measure” interchangeably, they actually don’t really mean the same thing. Let’s take the suit industry, as an example. A suit that is “made-to-measure” will be made using existing patterns with slight modifications to fit the person’s measurements. A suit that is “bespoke”, will be made with patterns drawn from scratch, entirely designed for the person. The amount of work needed, the number of measurements taken and parameters taken into account, the price, and the result will be very different for each category. And the same goes for kilts…!
So, when buying a kilt remotely, or online, you will most likely be asked to provide three measurements: your waist measurement, your hip or seat measurement, and the length of the future kilt (from your waist down to the middle of your knee). While these are measurements that are actually needed for any kilt, we believe that there is a lot more to be taken into account when making a truly bespoke kilt. When we start planning on making a kilt for a person, we will consider their body shape, lifestyle, level of fitness, age, and also their experience with ready-made clothes. These parameters can influence the way we measure the person, and what decisions we make when planning and making their kilt.
While we are grateful to receive inquiries from customers based all over the world, this is the reason why we will only make kilts for people that we can meet in person, exchange with, and do in person fittings. For us, it is the only way to make sure that a kilt is truly tailored to the person we are making it for and that it will be future-proof.
Bespoke kilt design and style
People who step into the kiltmaking world for the first time have a great deal of information to absorb. The variety of tartans, categories of kilts, styles and pleating types can be overwhelming. Not mentioning the many accessories and garments, that are, in most people’s minds, required to have a “proper” kilt outfit. We have found that most of our customers who have been in a kilt shop have not often been offered many, if any, design choices, apart from the tartan that they wanted their kilt to be made with. Things are very different with us!
When ordering a kilt from us, you will be involved in the making of your kilt, starting with the creative design of it. After you have overcome the challenges of choosing your tartan or tweed, among the hundreds of possibilities, you will be invited to make several other decisions! Choice will be yours regarding the type of pleating of your kilt, the way you want your tartan to be pleated, the colours and style of the fringes of your front apron, the colours of buckles and straps you’d like to fasten your kilt, the lining of your kilt, and so much more…
We have found that most of our customers did not expect to have options on so many details of their future kilt. But to date, all of them have had great fun discovering the endless possibilities to make their kilt truly “theirs”. You don’t have to make fancy choices, and it’s perfectly fine to choose to go for a more traditional look, if this is what resonates with you. But for people who want to go for something a little bit unusual, it’s a great way to add a bit of your personality, your quirkiness, or personnal taste, in a garment that is designed to be 100% you.
Final words on our bespoke kilts
Having a kilt make by us, Auld Alliance Kiltmakers, is more than just ordering a kilt. You’re actually starting a journey to have a meaningful garment handmade with love, passion, and the intention to make a kilt that is truly ‘you’ and that will follow you for the rest of your life.
If, after reading this blog post, you feel excited, but also a little bit overwhelmed, that’s rather normal. But fear not: we will be here to guide you every step of the way! If you have questions or woud like to discuss a potential kilt project with us, get in touch via the button below.
Mathilde and Jonathan
Photography credits : Griisette and Aurelie Bellacicco, Rose and Julien.