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His Holiness The Dalai Lama Receiving The First World Peace Tartan Scarf, Scotland
His Holiness The Dalai Lama Receiving The First World Peace Tartan Scarf, Scotland | © Victor Spence
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What You Need to Know About Scotland’s ‘World Peace Tartan’

Picture of Tori Chalmers
Updated: 2 April 2018
As old as the clans it represents, tartan is a metaphor for familial comradery, a tangible piece of history and an evocative symbol of Scotland. Better still, there’s one particular tartan that stands out from its ancient clan counterparts – World Peace tartan.

This beckoning blue-based tartan, which is worn by a string of respected humanitarian figures from Malala Yousafzai to the Dalai Lama, has taken Scotland by storm with its best-selling status.

World Peace Tartan
World Peace Tartan | © Alex Mellon / Culture Trip

Woven exclusively at Edinburgh’s Tartan Weaving Mill, World Peace tartan was invented in 2011 by Victor Spence, president of the Edinburgh Interfaith Association. Although its plaid print is eye-catching and chic, Spence designed it with more than sartorial greatness in mind. Rather, it was crafted as a global symbol of peace and cultural harmony. In 2012, the first-ever World Peace tartan scarf was presented to His Holiness The Dalai Lama in Edinburgh.

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His Holiness The Dalai Lama And Victor Spence Exchange Scarves, Scotland, 2012 | © Victor Spence

Proceeds from the tartan are put towards various charitable efforts such as education initiatives geared at tackling child poverty and promoting a culture of peace and non-violence.

Scottish designers such as Judy R Clark have even crafted bespoke garments using the speciality tartan, while both visitors and Scots with World Peace tartan on their minds flock to Scotland’s many tartan mills in droves.

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World Peace Tartan Classic Signature Frock Coat By Scottish Designer Judy R Clark | © Judy R Clark / Courtesy Of Victor Spence

Bold and blue, the interconnected colours each have their own meaning. The baby blue hues translate as the hope that rests within the United Nations, while the purple and green tones represent the Scottish thistle. Black and red highlight the brutal truths of war, violence and cultural unrest, just as the ethereal hints of white symbolise light, peace and harmony.

Spence told The Scotsman that ‘tartan with its warp and weft is something which shows how we are all interconnected and interdependent.’

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World Peace Tartan | © Victor Spence

The cult show Outlander may have helped usher traditional clan tartans into a whole new category of cool, but World Peace tartan is still the chieftain! Outlander actor Graham McTavish, Scots piper Craig Weir and Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi) all share the title of World Peace Tartan Ambassador.

World Peace tartan recipients include multiple Nobel Prize laureates, such as Pakistani human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai, and numerous prominent public figures, including Bishop Desmond Tutu, Canadian astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield, Pope Francis, Susan Boyle, Joanna Lumley and, of course, His Holiness The Dalai Lama of Tibet.

World Peace Tartan Ambassador And Scottish Actor Graham McTavish With World Peace Tartan Initiative Founder Victor Spence
World Peace Tartan Ambassador And Scottish Actor Graham McTavish With World Peace Tartan Initiative Founder Victor Spence | © Victor Spence

Spence also told The Scotsman that ‘when people see the World Peace tartan, which is a contemporary tartan, they see something that they can immediately relate to. Everyone wants to see peace when there is so much violence in the world.’

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Scottish Piper And World Peace Tartan Ambassador Craig Weir Wearing A Jacket Creation By Scottish Brand TEN30 | © Victor Spence