Dalai Lama tartan to star in New York fashion show

The Dalai Lama with his peace tartan scarf in Edinburgh's Usher Hall last June. Picture: Contributed
The Dalai Lama with his peace tartan scarf in Edinburgh's Usher Hall last June. Picture: Contributed
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A TARTAN inspired by the Dalai Lama’s visit to Scotland is to play a starring role in a New York fashion show.

The World Peace Tartan has been used by the Edinburgh designer Judy R Clark to create a couture outfit, for the Tartan Week showcase, From Scotland With Love.

The tartan will also be worn as a kilt in a catwalk appearance by spiritual leader and political campaigner Arun Gandhi – grandson of Mahatma Gandhi – at next week’s event.

The design is the creation of Victor Spence, co-ordinator of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Scotland last year.

He said: “The Tibetan tradition is to greet someone by placing a white silk scarf, or khata, around their neck. I had the idea that I wanted to welcome the Dalai Lama to Scotland by putting a tartan scarf around his neck.”

Mr Spence, who designed the pale blue tartan himself, will be licensing it for use by others and using the profits for a charity to help Scottish children living in poverty.

Designer Clark, who has worked with Alexander McQueen and designed outfits for chart-topping Scottish singer Emeli Sandé, said she had been inspired to create an outfit with the new tartan.

She said: “I was drawn to the name of the tartan and its striking design. I approached Victor Spence and asked if he would like to collaborate on a piece for the New York show.”

As well as representing the Dalai Lama, Mr Spence has co-ordinated several of Arun Gandhi’s visits to Scotland – which is how the India leader came to be involved.

Mr Gandhi said: “The World Peace Tartan is beautiful.

“Wearing this tartan will be a daily reminder to commit ourselves to working for peace in the world.”

The organisers of the fashion show From Scotland With Love said they were delighted to be launching the tartan in the United States and to have Mr Gandhi on the catwalk.

Geoffrey Scott Carroll, the Peebles-born founder and chairman of the event, said: ‘This is going to be a fascinating and memorable catwalk ‘first’. We are greatly honoured to have such a figure as Arun Gandhi grace our catwalk in a kilt!

“I also suspect that the World Peace Tartan could make a big impact around the world.”

The theme of this year’s fashion show, which is next Monday, is “The Scottish Lion Meets the Asian Dragon”, and it is particularly aimed at Asian buyers.

The event organisers say in their mission statement: “When we look at growth these days, we look at the Asian markets.

“We therefore wanted to engage new Asian buyers, designers, business and financial institution partners, models and participants in general who have an interest in working with new Scottish partners. Our focus will be on China, Korea and Japan.”

The event will be at Stage 48 in the trendy Hell’s Kitchen district of New York, and celebrity guests will include actor Gerard Butler, comedian Mike Myers and racing driver Dario Franchitti.

Television presenters Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan will also be there.

Mr Spence said he hoped Judy R Clark’s design would be one of the highlights of next week’s event.

He said: “Her work is truly outstanding and we are grateful of her interest and honoured that she has taken the time to create a beautiful piece for the New York show.

“If someone had said to me last year that a top fashion designer will create a unique and stunning piece for a New York fashion show using the World Peace Tartan, I simply wouldn’t have believed it.”