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Designs created from new tartan

5 May 09 10:28 GMT

Fashion students have designed garments featuring a cherry blossom tartan, created for the Japanese market.

Second year students at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen were set the project as part of a celebration the man dubbed the "Scottish Samurai".

Fraserburgh-born merchant Thomas Glover was a key figure in 19th Century Japan.

The new cherry tartan called Sakura was created by tartans designer David McGill, from Edinburgh, and Shizue Melvin, from Japan.

Mrs Melvin's businessman husband John, from Edinburgh, has also been working on the Sakura Scotland project, which is marketing the tartan and products made from it in Japan.

Top honours

The project team hope to showcase the students' work in Nagasaki, as part of a Scottish Week being organised by the Japanese tourism department in September.

A potential venue is Glover House in Nagasaki.

As well as Sakura, the students incorporated tartans from north east Scotland in their designs.

Glover was born in 1838 in Fraserburgh, a north east Scotland fishing town, and became a leading figure in the industrialisation of Japan.

He was the first non-Japanese person to be awarded the Order of the Rising Sun - one of the top honours of the country.

His Japanese wife, Tsuru, was said to have been the inspiration for Madame Butterfly, the opera by Giacomo Puccini.

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