In today’s market, plaid is synonymous with autumn and winter coziness. The pattern’s rustic, nostalgic, and traditional nature is appealing to almost every audience, evoking feelings of warmth and comfort. But where did this pattern come from? And why is it seemingly timeless?
It turns out, plaid was not always plaid as we know it today. Tartan is the technical name for the pattern. The horizontal and vertical crisscrossed stripes go as far back as 100 BC to the ancient Celtic populations. Think: kilts. At the time, plaid was actually the term for a kilt accessory or a blanket. Different geographic areas had different colors and kilt variations to distinguish from one another.
Fast-forward to the 1700s, tartan was still associated with Scotland and Celtic communities. The pattern was actually banned from all of Britain in the Dress Act following the Scottish Rebellion of 1745. When the ban was lifted in 1782, tartan became a popular print for formal and evening wear among the English.
Around the year 1850, plaid made the leap over the pond to the United States. An immigrant from England started a mill in Pennsylvania, which is famous for creating the original Buffalo plaid, or red and black check plaid, which has become an American staple.
In the 1970s, plaid expanded from apparel into interior design and décor, giving way into the infamous grunge phase of the 1990s. Through having strong ties to both counterculture and popular culture movements, plaid has maintained mainstream popularity by relating to different demographics simultaneously. Today, plaid is ubiquitous in household décor and textiles across America, particularly in the winter months because of its associations with cold weather climates.
As flea market vendors, appealing to the senses is fundamental to your success. As we enter colder weather and holiday seasons, comforting textiles and bedding are seamless additions to your inventory. Plaid has a widespread appeal to men, women, and children of all ages. Bringing soft, touchable linens such as sheets to your booth will invite shoppers to stop, feel the product, and take in the sensory experience.