The Lasses Behind the Lairds: An Analysis of Issues Facing Female Scottish Kiltmakers

  • David P Loranger (Sacred Heart University)
  • Eulanda A. Sanders (Iowa State University)


Specifically, the kiltmaking sector accounts for over $400 million of the larger Scottish apparel industry ("License to Kilt," 2009). Laird (2016) notes that the kiltmaking profession was largely populated by men pre-World War II, as kilts were produced mainly fo military and ceremonial occasions. However, with the advent of the Second World War, the profession was re-staffed with women as with many other industries across the globe (Stansbery-Buckland, 2000). To this day, the Scottish kiltmaking profession is mainly staffed by female kiltmakers (Loranger, 2016). Despite this, scant research has been initiated into female Scots who claim their occupation as kiltmakers. Therefore the purpose of this research was to extend the current body of knowledge by exploring the experiences of female craftspeople employed in the Scottish kiltmaking industry. Researchers interviewed a sample of seventeen (n=17) kiltmakers in the greater Edinburgh and Highlands areas of Scotland. Analysis of probe question data led to the emergent theme of women's work, with sub-themes of income inequality and work/life balance. Overall, the present research provides a better understanding of economic and family experiences of female Scottish kiltmakers, who are valuable to the kiltmaking industry, constituting a major portion of the kiltmaking workforce.

Keywords: women's work, kiltmaking, Scotland, women’s work, kilt

How to Cite:

Loranger, D. P. & Sanders, E. A., (2019) “The Lasses Behind the Lairds: An Analysis of Issues Facing Female Scottish Kiltmakers”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 76(1). doi:

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Published on
15 Dec 2019