A Year in the Life of Greyfriars Tartan

A Year in the Life of Greyfriars Tartan

This has been an outstanding year in the life of Greyfriars Tartan! If we think about where we started  (an idea in the mind of one of our members, to design our very own tartan) we have certainly come a long way. Our members are becoming more and more proficient at making our products, and this year we have seen some very exciting partnerships and orders. Here are some of the things that have happened:

We dressed the Lothian Gaelic Choir
Jackie Cotter, the choir conductor has been a lady on a mission, to get her singers wearing Greyfriars Tartan, for over a year! Well, after much discussion and a bit of fundraising, the choir was able to make an order for long tartan skirts for all the female singers. It was like a dream come true to our members to see these come to materialise. And don’t they look smart?



We  partnered up with Walker Slater

We happen to be neighbours with one of the very sophisticated Walker Slater shops in the Grassmarket. Partnering up with them was a wonderful opportunity for our members to use off cuts of their lovely tweeds to make our signature dog product, as well as some rose brooches. The super elegant results can now be found on sale in the Edinburgh and Covent Garden WS shops. Check it out! Walker Slater have said “Walker Slater really like our small venture with the Grassmarket Project we want to do more !”


We Introduced Greyfriars Tartan to the Korean Social Enterprise Scene

Korean Social Enterprise is certainly an up – and – coming scene. Through a partnership with the British Council, our Chief Executive Jonny Kinross was able to travel there and introduce our very own Greyfriars Tartan. What a proud moment, marked with a selfie: Say cheeeese!



We are saying good bye to 2016 with a lot of smiles and much satisfaction with what we have achieved. We want to thank you so much for your support and wish you a Merry Christmas, and a prosperous 2017.


A New Experience

A New Experience

Our members have grabbed the opportunity to gain some new experience in the last months. Not only have they been making our beautiful products, but they have also been serving customers and selling them.


They have been out at makers’ markets and fairs introducing their hard work to the general public. Sales and customer service are both very valuable skills, which have helped increase our members’ confidence, as well as their employability. We are delighted with their hard work, and also extremely proud!


A hundred Dogs for a Special Customer

A hundred Dogs for a Special Customer

In March this year, we were honoured to host  Nicola Sturgeon on a very special visit to  the Grassmarket Community Project. It’s not every day you get to hang out with the First Minister! She came and spent time in each area of our project, and was – of course- introduced to members of our Tartan Team. How excited do you think we were, when we received an order for one hundred dogs from her? That’s right! One hundred! Our members got straight to work, and worked incredibly hard to fulfil the order.

dogs - Copy

Of course this was not their first experience with working for the Scottish Parliament: In 2014 they were equally delighted to be making products from the Parliament’s own tartan.  They did great then, and they have done great now, as Nicola’s office  gave the following feedback:

“Nicola is delighted with these products. Thank you.”

A job well done by our members!


Korea here we come!

Next week our team are working on making products from a selection of tartans. What’s new about that? These products have a far away destination. They are going to Korea!

royal stewart brooches

We are joining the British Council campaign: “Social Investment is Great” in Seoul, Korea. Seoul is recognised as one of the 8 best shopping cities in the world. We are excited about having the opportunity to tell our story there, and also about all the cultural and commercial partnerships this may bring!


Watch this space for more news about the campaign!

royal stewart

Berries & Cherries, The Scottish Parliament and World Peace

What do all these have in common? They are all Tartans, and our members have been using them to create beautiful products!

A few months ago, we decided to expand the range of tartans we work with. That was when we partnered up with The Scottish Parliament. We agreed to make gorgeous products out of their gorgeous tartan. All were delighted with the result, and the products are now on sale at the Parliament Building gift shop.

parliament tartan dogs

We then embarked upon making a batch of products out of all types of tartans for the Stirling Highland Games. Among others, we used the beautiful predominantly blue World Peace Tartan, and also the classic red Royal Stewart Tartan.

world peace royal stewart

royal stewart

Last week, the gorgeous Berries & Cherries Tartan was launched in Blairgowrie. We had a part to play in the event. Apart from visiting, tasting the delicious berries and cherries, and introducing our project, we also made a range of lovely items out of the cloth. It was great to see how a tartan can bring together a community, much like Greyfriars Tartan has played a huge part in our own community journey. (See Greyfriars Tartan Fashion Show)

berries and cherries bags

berries purses

We are excited about this new way of working with other tartans as well as our own. We would love to hear from you if you have your own tartan and would like to get some products made, or even if you fancy something made out of your favourite well-known tartan!

Celebration Open Evening – A Great Success!

Thanks to all who attended our Celebration Open Evening. We estimate there were about 100-120 people there all together, including our own staff and members. The evening was another great opportunity to share our story, and tell our guests about what we do.

The Tartan Team thoroughly enjoyed demonstrating their sewing, hosting and sales skills. Our guests were delighted to hear about what we do, and also took advantage of our fantastic special offers, to purchase tartan items at great prices. The evening’s star helper was 8 year old Mattia, who is the granddaughter of one of our tartan members. She was a great advert for us, a good help on the tills, and a credit to her family.

tartan stall hub sales 3 agnes


Greyfriars Tartan Design Competition and Fashion Show Results


Two up-and-coming young Scottish designers are celebrating a double win at Greyfriars Tartan Fashion Show, taking first and third prizes for their stunning creations.



Siobhan Mackenzie was awarded first prize for her gentleman’s kilt, which replicated the Scottish saltire in tartan on the backs of the kilt pleats. A First Class BA Honours Fashion Design and Production Graduate, Siobhan now lives in Glasgow but was born and raised in the Highlands. It was her unconventional use of romantic fabrics such as lace and velvet that so impressed the judges, as well as the strength of Siobhan’s business model which aims to bring Scottish dress into the 21st century.


Siobhan says: “I am truly honoured to be given such a prestigious award and to have my hard work recognised is an incredible feeling. I firmly believe something as beautiful as the kilt and tartan should be progressed with the fashion world, and as a Young Scottish Designer I work diligently in order to try and achieve this.” 



Second place was awarded to English designer Kerri Plumtree for her quirky sleeveless dress with structured collar, which was inspired by metaphysics. The judges felt her creative use of cutting deserved second place.


Kerri says: Fashion has given me focus and purpose, and in many ways has saved me from myself. To be given the opportunity to use my skills and create something using the beautiful Greyfriars Tartan, and for such a worthwhile cause, has been an honour and a privilege. Thank you for recognising the talent within me and presenting me with this award.”



Scottish designer Fiona Muirhead-Kerr took third place for her beautiful military style hat covered in Greyfriars Tartan and embellished with ostrich feather and a complimentary brooch. Fiona’s inspiration comes from Scottish military millinery and she recently set up her own business Ms Muirhead Millinery. She also works as a part-time art teacher at Aboyne Academy in Aberdeenshire.


Fiona says: “I am thrilled to have won this award as the standard and prestige of this competition reinforces my confidence in pursuing my love of fashion and millinery; for myself, my business and Grassmarket Community Project. Through my work as a teacher I know how empowering creativity is, and I look forward to furthering the amazing aims of Grassmarket Community Project.”


Last night’s fashion show was a huge success, with over 150 guests attending to see Greyfriars Tartan designs submitted from across the world including Indonesia (Jakarta) and India, as well as Scotland, England and Wales.


The unique Greyfriars Tartan was designed by a member of Grassmarket Community Project, a social enterprise based in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket where vulnerable local people (members) can be part of a community, develop new skills and self-confidence, and become more employable. The tartan is officially registered and used to teach members textiles skills. They learn to create a range of handmade products, as well as gaining other valuable skills such as team work and punctuality.


Katerina Faulds, Greyfriars Tartan Sales Manager at Grassmarket Community Project, said: “We have been overwhelmed at the response to the competition and it has been so exciting to see the diverse and creative designs on display tonight. Congratulations to our three talented winners and huge thanks to our sponsors, the judges and everyone who has helped make the event such a special one.”

Greyfriars Tartan Fashion Show, Thursday 12th March 6.00pm

fashion show invite

Book your free tickets here:


Cutting-edge tartan designs will be showcased at a fashion show event, at Edinburgh’s Grassmarket Community Project, celebrating the results of the Greyfriars Tartan Design Competition which has attracted submissions from designers around the world.


The unique Greyfriars Tartan was designed by a member of Grassmarket Community Project, a social enterprise based in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket where vulnerable local people (members) can be part of a community, develop new skills and self-confidence and become more employable.  The tartan is officially registered and used to teach members textiles skills. They learn to create a range of handmade products, as well as gaining other valuable skills such as team work and punctuality.


In order to celebrate, experiment with and re – imagine the tartan, The Greyfriars Tartan Design Competition was held last month and saw designs coming in from Indonesia (Jakarta), India as well as England, Wales and Scotland.


The Greyfriars Tartan Fashion Show takes place from 6pm on Thursday 12 March when three fashion show judges will choose three winning pieces, with the winners awarded over £1000 in cash prizes.


Guests will be able to purchase Greyfriars Tartan products plus take part in a raffle with all profits being invested back into Grassmarket Community Project and the Greyfriars Tartan Group.


Katerina Faulds, Greyfriars Tartan Sales Manager at Grassmarket Community Project, said: “We are so proud of our achievements with Greyfriars Tartan, both raising funds and teaching skills to our members.The fashion show will be a celebration of this, as well as a chance to re-consider perceptions of tartan as a whole.”


Grassmarket Community Project was born out of a century-old partnership between Greyfriars Kirk and the Grassmarket Mission in Edinburgh, transforming from a humble soup kitchen into a vibrant and inclusive community hub.


Nina Falk, Greyfriars Tartan Textiles Specialist at Grassmarket Community Project, says: “What we do here really changes people’s lives and our members have so much more self-confidence since learning to make our beautiful tartan products, while also being encouraged to develop new skills and work closely as a team.”


There will be canapés and refreshments plus live music on the night.

Tickets for the FREE fashion show are available on the Eventbrite website


Greyfriars Design Competition

All entries to the Greyfriars Tartan Design Competition have been reviewed. The ones that have made it to the next stage will be judged at the Greyfriars Tartan Fashion Show, on Thursday March 12th. There will be three prizes awarded to the first second and third best designs according to our judge panel.

We are very excited about the event. Details of how to book tickets for it coming up soon!

Find out more…

Photo of Tartan couple

Greyfriars Tartan, the story

Greyfriars Tartan has its roots in the Grassmarket Community Project which started out as a partnership between Greyfriars Kirk and the Grassmarket Mission, in the late 1800s.


Since then, the Grassmarket Community Project has grown into a vibrant hub, a place for people to come and learn new skills, attend workshops, meet each other, eat together. It really is a community, with several regular members.

The community reaches out to people who are coping with mental or physical illness, or facing social exclusion, helping to build up their skills and self-confidence. In 2011, Paul, a talented member of the Grassmarket Community Project weaving group, took inspiration from the history of the area, particularly the story of Greyfriars Bobby, to design a tartan. And so it began.

Folded beautiful tartanBig sheep

Greyfriars Tartan has now been officially registered. It is currently being woven in Scotland, using 100% wool.

Our textiles group meet twice a week to work on creating beautiful items with this beautiful fabric. Here is what they have been working on the last few weeks:

Tartan groupPeople tartanCushions

Greyfriars Tartan First Customer

First customer

Before production even began we had our first customer!

After a meeting at the Grassmarket Community Project Café in July , where we discussed making a Greyfriars Tartan dog, a young girl came up to us. She had seen the dog prototypes lying on the table, and immediately asked where she could get it from. We couldn’t resist her big smile and enthusiasm, so we sold her the first one! She had come to Edinburgh for a visit to the zoo, and went home with the perfect souvenir. And there it was: our first customer!

Since then we have had both local and international buyers, men and women, children and adults. The Greyfriars Tartan dogs are made by the ‘Tartan Group’ members at Grassmarket Community Project who all put their heart in to the project. Through learning textiles skills, they get the opportunity to also learn about team work, and improve their self confidence. All profits from Greyfriars Tartan go back into the Grassmarket Community Project, providing community for disadvantaged people in Edinburgh.

Interested in purchasing a dog and supporting the project? Please contact us on 0131 2253626 or 07943 091014 to place your order.

Greyfriars Tartan Dog
Handmade in Edinburgh
Made with 100% wool
Greyfriars Tartan made and designed in Scotland.