120011-310OProductTartan Checked Poplin Shirt
Once a catchall term for the hardy woollen cloth worn by Highlanders, ‘tartan’ now refers to the distinctive plaids that have identified Scottish clans for thousands of years.
Ancient Celts probably brought tartan to the Scottish Highlands between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE. Over time, tartans were woven specially for different castes – kings had seven stripes and peasants had only one. Colours were added, patterns grew more complex, and families and clans began using unique tartans to identify ancestry and announce fealty.
Tartans are actually complex twill weaves, but rather than using identical warp and weft patterns, tartans use slightly different fibres and colours to create individual patterns. Twill’s strength and cold- and water-repellent qualities made it well-suited to the rough, outdoor living of Highlanders.
In everyday speech, ‘poplin’ refers to a large group of plain-weave cotton shirting, ranging from fine and crisp to coarser and more heavyweight qualities. These are all even weaves made with single yarns of the same weight in both warp and weft – such as 40s/40s or 60s/60s, which are two common yarn counts.
Traditionally, however, poplin was characterised by a textured surface with a slight horizontal ribbing, a result of densely interlacing one coarser crosswise thread with two or more finer threads running from top to bottom. The name poplin comes from a 15th-century fabric, popeline, originally woven from silk and wool in the Catholic centre of Avignon in southern France.
Esquel is a textile and apparel manufacturer for some of the world’s leading brands, producing more than 100 million pieces per year. Based in Hong Kong, the company and its 57,000 employees work in a way that reduces their environmental impact, and contributes to the communities in which they operate. Their eco-wash process, in particular, reduces resource use and encourages lean production with less manual labour. The 40-year-old company has a complete supply chain that starts with growing its own extra-long staple cotton, and handles all stages of the process through to packaging. For ARKET, Esquel is crafting men’s and women’s shirts.