'Tartan tat' kings stock up on the 'real' thing

THEY are the undisputed kings of "tartan tat", with a now ubiquitous presence on the Royal Mile.

But after months of criticism from fellow retailers about their imported cut-price kilts, it seems the Gold Brothers may have finally buckled under the pressure.

Less than two months after unveiling Chinese-made 19.99 versions of the national dress, the retailer has now begun stocking a new line – made in Motherwell.

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At just 50, the kilts cost almost 100 less than the cheapest Scottish-made kilts currently on sale in the Gold Brothers' stores.

Dildar Singh, who along with his uncles runs the family's chain of gift shops in the city, said other kiltmakers in the city were "ripping people off".

He said: "A lot of people are not happy that kilts are being made abroad. We like making kilts cheap and affordable. We've got the buying power, so we can sell them for 50 and still make a living.

"We deal with the same companies as other kiltmakers and I don't see why they're charging so much. But then not everybody has the capacity to buy as many as we do.

"The maximum someone should be paying for a kilt is 200. Kiltmakers have had it too easy for too long."

The 50 kilts, which come in more than 100 tartans, have been produced by Motherwell-based Glen Isla Kilts.

Mr Singh said the same company had recently provided kilts for the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

In January, the Gold Brothers unveiled a new line of 19.99 kilts after discount supermarket chain Lidl began selling the garments for 25 in the run-up to Burns Night.

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The price reductions meant the whole Highland outfit could be bought for 185, compared to the usual price of between 500 and 1000.

Kiltmaker Geoffrey Nicholsby has repeatedly spoken out against "tartan tat", amid growing tension between him and the Gold Brothers.

The Gold Brothers have hit back, saying their souvenir stores give tourists what they want.

Brian Wilton, a spokesman for the Scottish Tartans Authority, said that by selling cut-price kilts, the Gold Brothers were doing the industry a disservice.

He said: "It very much depends on the kilts and the material they're made from."

The Gold Brothers own a string of shops across the city and will sell the 50 kilts from stores on South Bridge and the Royal Mile.