Kiltmaker Kinloch Anderson's long history in tartan reveals a fascinating success story – Bill Jamieson

Deirdre Kinloch Anderson has written an engrossing account of the 152-year history of her family firm, writes Bill Jamieson

Deirdre Kinloch Anderson's book on her family firms history in kiltmaking is an engrossing read, says Bill Jamieson (Picture: Ian Rutherford)
Deirdre Kinloch Anderson's book on her family firms history in kiltmaking is an engrossing read, says Bill Jamieson (Picture: Ian Rutherford)

Amid all the crises and woes of modern retailing, it is heartening to report a longstanding Scottish success story – longstanding in this case being 150 years.

Of all the features that have come to represent the best of Scotland, tartan wear – and full Highland dress regalia especially – must rank as the most enduring and distinctive. And one name here is pre-eminent – Kinloch Anderson. This family firm of tailors and kiltmakers is now in its 152nd year and its sixth generation. It has survived wars, recessions, downturns and relentless changes in styles and fashions – a combination that would floor many other businesses.

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Now Deirdre Kinloch Anderson, who started work in the firm as a leaflet delivery girl and is now nicknamed The Tartan Tigress, has set out the remarkable family story in a new book – Tailored for Scotland. It is a lavishly illustrated 222-page travel through the firm’s history – its manifold, ever-changing kilts and tartan products keeping the firm and its business in the frontline of Scottish enterprise here and around the world.

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The First World War threw up the most formidable challenges not only for this firm but for Scottish retail businesses generally. But constant innovation and improvement helped this company not only to endure but also to expand into international markets, Japan and the Far East in particular.

The book is an engrossing account of how this family company made tartan dress resilient and greatly admired facet of Scottish history and tradition. It is beautifully presented and documented by publisher Waverley Books with fastidious care and craftsmanship: truly a great tribute to the Kinloch Anderson story and to the work of Deirdre and her husband Douglas. She is truly a great ambassador for the best of Scotland. And what a great First Minister, she would have made!

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