The 21st century sees many traditional crafts in decline, and the demanding and intricate tailoring skills for creating or restoring a kilt are sadly no exception. Fortunately, a few skilled kilt makers remain who create their kilts in the traditional way of the Tailor and Craftsman – and one of this rare breed is Marion Foster.
While predominantly the quality of the High Street bespoke or mass-produced, off-the-peg kilt is perfectly acceptable while retaining a competitive price point, the authentic handstitched, tailored, bespoke kilt which is an heirloom and last more than one lifetime, epitomises an enduring tradition, unsurpassed technique and unique style that must live on.
Marion Foster was trained in the methods of the Gordon Highlander Master Tailors and is committed to lifelong learning of bespoke tailoring. Every kilt she makes is more than a garment to her - it is a work of art, to last and be enjoyed - and she crafts each with the same care and attention that they will receive from their future wearers. There are few remaining kilt makers of this kind willing to pass on their skills.
In addition to the tailored kilt and waistcoat, Askival of Strathearn also handcrafts ladies sashes and handfasting cords. The fringes can be beautifully knotted in a lattice fashion or "purled", creating an exclusive hand-twisted design.
Marion formed the Kilt College based at the Askival studio. She felt there was a need for the learning to be accessible to the local and international learner and enrich the experience of kilt making by the location, companionship and ambience of the studio.
As well as providing workshops and presentations, there are ad hoc masterclasses and an established learning set where kilt makers meet together, network, share best practice and inspire each other.
Year Established: 2014
Making a traditional kilt for the young Prince George and presenting it to his parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathearn.