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Aileen Clarke reports
"There's no getting away from it...some kilts are not what they used to be"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Kilts dance to new tune
Kilt-making is a specialised skill
Hoots mon! A kilt with a pocket for a mobile phone?

It's enough to send a Highlander into a fling.

But Scotland's national dress is indeed being given a new look by a kilt-maker in Edinburgh.

Howie Nicholsby thought up the changes after discovering that the average sporran was not big enough to hold a phone.

His new range offers kilts with pockets for clubbers to carry water bottles and detachable pouches which can be stuck on in the style of combat pants.

Most people are looking for hand-made traditional dress for formal occasions

Paul Hart, Clan Albanoch
Mr Nicholsby said the initial reaction to his contemporary kilts had been "excellent", and denied he was disrespecting the traditional Highland dress.

He said the range, with prices starting at 250, was his latest attempt to make the kilt relevant to the needs of modern living.

The 22-year-old, whose father Geoffrey runs Tailor Highland Crafts in the Edinburgh's Royal Mile, said he wore a kilt every day and wanted to broaden their appeal to younger generations.

"We are trying to drive kilts as a contemporary item of clothing - much as they were in the first place when Highlanders wore them to go running about in.

"By putting mobile phone pockets in it's making them practical for the 21st century."

There are water pockets for clubbers
Mr Nicholsby said he was bemused by criticism from rival manufacturers who insist kilts should only be worn traditionally, for special occasions such as weddings and Burns Night.

He said: "I was quite surprised. They may be happy just to have them for formal wear, but we want people to wear them for any function.

"The kilt industry needs to catch up with fashion, and we are at the forefront of this."

Paul Hart, owner of kilt makers Clan Albanoch in South Queensferry, Edinburgh, said while he did not have any grievance against non-traditionalists, he preferred the classical look.

"I would certainly be classing a kilt with mobile phone holders as a fashion garment," he added.

"I think there is probably a very small market worldwide for them, but we certainly wouldn't diversify as we try to keep it as traditional as possible.

"Most people are looking for hand-made traditional dress for formal occasions."

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See also:

25 May 00 | Scotland
Duchovny's Highland fling
05 May 00 | Education
Oxford launches designer clothes
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