Highland Regiment Soldiers wearing Kilts & Plaids c. 1744

A Brief History of Tweed, Herringbone & Plaid

Tweed, herringbone and plaid are patterns that we typically associate with menswear, yet their history goes beyond suit coats and ties. Get a brief history lesson of these three designs, and see modern ways to incorporate them into your home:

Tweed

Legend has it that the name “tweed” came about by accident when a London cloth merchant mistook its correct name, “tweel,” (Scottish for “twill”) for the Scottish river, Tweed. The fabric, made from unfinished wool, is rough in texture with a homespun, slightly unfinished look. It was popular with the Scottish the upper-class, who used it for country apparel like shooting jackets because of it’s durability. It became popular again in the 1960’s, reinventing itself in a houndstooth pattern. Today, tweed is used in menswear, particularly with hipsters who have an appreciation for vintage, but its also making its way into the homes of style-setters.

Harris Tweed Weaver, Scotland c1960
Harris Tweed Weaver, Scotland c1960
Tweed Shooting Jacket
Tweed Shooting Jacket
Philadelphia Tweed Bicycle Ride
Philadelphia Tweed Bicycle Ride

Tweed Interior Decor

S. Harris Fabric - Claridge Tweed - Ink 8553501
S. Harris Fabric – Claridge Tweed – Ink
Stroheim & Romann Fabric - Cambon Tweed - Moonstone 6324803
Stroheim & Romann Fabric – Cambon Tweed – Moonstone
B. Berger Fabric - 1250-10 Latte
B. Berger Fabric – 1250-10 Latte
B. Berger Fabric - 1250-59 Amazon Green
B. Berger Fabric – 1250-59 Amazon Green
Kravet Fabric - 30961 - 317
Kravet Fabric – 30961 – 317

Herringbone

Herringbone is a V-shaped zig zag pattern that is usually made from tweed/twill fabric. The herringbone pattern dates back to the Roman Empire (Opus spicatum), where it was used in road paving systems, and in the textiles and jewelry of ancient Egyptian elite. Its name quite literally derives from the bones of a herring fish, which it closely resembles.

Fireplace with opus spicatum, Usk Castle, c. 1120, Photo by Andy Dingley
Fireplace with opus spicatum, Usk Castle, c. 1120, Photo by Andy Dingley
Ancient Egyptian Jewelry
Ancient Egyptian Jewelry
Skeleton of Herring Fish
Skeleton of Herring Fish

Herringbone Interior Decor

Kravet Fabric - 30949 - 11
Kravet Fabric – 30949 – 11
Kravet Fabric - Basin - Natural
Kravet Fabric – Basin – Natural
Kravet Fabric - 31748 - 614
Kravet Fabric – 31748 – 614
Ralph Lauren Fabric - Balines Herringbone - Camel LFY19468F
Ralph Lauren Fabric – Balines Herringbone – Camel
Schumacher Wallpaper - Pearce Herringbone - Bone 5006170
Schumacher Wallpaper – Pearce Herringbone – Bone

Plaid/Tartan

Plaid, a pattern that is made up of 90 degree criss-crossed lines of different widths, is traditionally known as tartan in Scotland, where it became popular with clans in the mid-nineteenth century.  What we Americans call plaid is actually a Scottish tartan cloth that is worn over the shoulder as an accessory to a kilt. Although plaid is most commonly associated with Scotland, the pattern actually dates back to ancient Celtic populations of the British Isles between the 8th & 6th centuries BC, where each clan or family had their own unique plaid design. Plaid made a comeback in the 1970s with the emergence of punk music. Today, plaid is back in style in both fashion and the home.

Highland Regiment Soldiers wearing Kilts & Plaids c. 1744
Highland Regiment Soldiers wearing Kilts & Plaids c. 1744
Plaid at Rodarte's Show at New York Fashion Week, Spring 2014
Plaid at Rodarte’s Show at New York Fashion Week, Spring 2014

Plaid Interior Decor

Ralph Lauren Fabric - WESSEX GLEN PLAID - BLACK/WHITE LFY66027F
Ralph Lauren Fabric – WESSEX GLEN PLAID – BLACK/WHITE
Schumacher Fabric - Alexander Tartan - Rouge 68320
Schumacher Fabric – Alexander Tartan – Rouge
Ralph Lauren Fabric - WHITEHALL TARTAN - HUNTER LFY66034F
Ralph Lauren Fabric – WHITEHALL TARTAN – HUNTER
Cole & Son Wallpaper - 86/2006
Cole & Son Wallpaper – 86/2006
Ralph Lauren Wallpaper - New Market Tweed - Woodland LWP60708W
Ralph Lauren Wallpaper – New Market Tweed – Woodland LWP60708W

Related Articles:

Menswear-Inspired Decor

History of Fabrics & Textiles

Photo Sources (in order of appearance):
harristweed.org
rapha.cc
philebrity.com
bestofinteriors.com
sheknows.com
beebeegrace.blogspot.com
commons.wikimedia.org
egypttemple.com
theolinstudio.com
houzz.com
indebleu.net
shopsweetthings.com
heritageofscotland.com
harpersbazaar.com
Ralph Lauren Home
Information Sourced from wikipedia.org

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