Why don’t you carry my clan/family tartan?

Posted by Brice Lythgoe on 8th Dec 2017

Why don’t you carry my clan/family tartan?

I get this question asked a lot! Typically several times per week I have someone that will contact me with questions on how to get their specific family or clan tartan. Rarely do I get the same tartan asked for twice. While there is a lot that goes into deciding which tartans are readily available and which ones are not, I will give a brief explanation of what we do and why we carry the tartans we do.

First, there are literally tens of thousands of tartans that are available. From original clan tartans to variations like dress, hunting, ancient, to tartans designed by individuals, large groups, and companies, there are lots of tartans. In that large group of available tartans, there are only a very small fraction that are woven and kept in stock by the large mills. How do they choose which ones? Honestly, I am not 100% sure but I have a good guess: Demand

Having tartan fabric in stock is a big investment. To keep costs down on the fabric you don’t want to just weave enough for one kilt. I know in the mills we work with they have to weave enough fabric to make 200-250 kilts. So, in order to keep something in stock that can be readily made into a kilt, there has to be a good amount of demand for it. Having done this for a number of years, I can say that there is a small group of tartans that are sought after more than others. Those are the tartans that many mills focus on. Since the vast majority of clan and family tartans do not have as much demand, they will not be found as easily.

Those tartans that are sought after more than the others can be found, typically very easily, pre-made into off-the-rack kilts. These kilts can be very affordable and look just as good as any other kilt. While this is nice for many, it is frustrating for others that want a different tartan. However, I believe it all comes down to demand. If there is big demand for a tartan, you will start to see it more often.

This does not mean that all hope is lost. You can have any tartan you want woven into fabric and made into a kilt (even one designed by you!). However, that is where you see the prices close to $1,000 USD for a kilt. The mill that is willing to do this will weave enough fabric just for one kilt. As discussed earlier, weaving tartans is not cheap. By only weaving enough for one kilt, the price jumps dramatically. While this is not something that UT Kilts currently does, there are some places in Scotland that do it on a regular basis.

The tartans we have listed are the only ones available to us. We do get new ones added, but there is no regular interval as to when we do it. I try to have as many tartans available to pick from as possible; however, as stated earlier, we are limited to what the mill will weave. We are truly sorry if we don’t have the tartan you are looking for. However, lots of the tartans listed on our site are universal and do not have any clan or family ties. Take a look at our special order tartans here: