SCOTLAND’S unique contribution to fashion and textiles will be the centrepoint of a new exhibition showing at the V&A in Dundee.

Tartan, the first major exhibition in Scotland in 30 years to focus solely on the iconic textile and pattern, opens this Saturday.

Running until January 2024, the ­exhibition presents a radical new look at a globally recognised design and brings together many different voices from around the world.

More than 300 objects illustrating tartan’s universal and enduring ­appeal will be on display, with examples of fashion, architecture, graphic and product design, photography, furniture, glass and ceramics, film, performance and art.

The exhibition will highlight the ways tartan shapes identities, embraces tradition, expresses rebellion and conjures fantasy. From a checked cloth woven in multiple colours in the Highlands, tartan’s distinctive pattern can now be found upon every surface imaginable.

No other textile pattern has been categorised to such a degree, with more than 11,000 known examples of tartan recorded worldwide proving its iconic grids continue to offer unlimited possibilities and inspiration.

The exhibition has, for the first time ever on display, the oldest-known piece of tartan found in Scotland. On loan from the Scottish Tartans Authority, recent scientific research revealed the tartan specimen found in a peat bog in Glen Affric can be dated to circa 1500-1600.

READ MORE: Scotland’s ‘oldest’ tartan discovered in peat bog

One of the newest exhibits is a handcrafted tartan-covered Xbox Wireless Controller from 2022. The Xbox tartan was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Xbox in Scotland in partnership with Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers, and weavers Lochcarron of Scotland Est 1892. This design is an innovative ­example of weaving, using only single green, white and black threads to ­create a digital pixelated effect.

Inspired by Jonathan Faiers’s book Tartan, the exhibition gathers objects from more than 100 international lenders, from the high fashion of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, to amateur footage from 1938 showing weaver Willie Meikle at work on his handloom at home in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire.

“Tartan is a symbol of Scotland, representing tradition, rebellion, innovation, legend, power, and multiple identities, which is at home around the world,” said Leonie Bell, V&A Dundee director. “The exhibition plays tribute to the range and versatility of tartan, and it rightly marks V&A Dundee’s fifth birthday.”

Tartan at V&A Dundee is sponsored by Arnold Clark and supported by LNER and the V&A Foundation.