It’s a Scottish fashion accessory which has been worn by some of the world’s most prominent humanitarian figures – from the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis to Malala, the Pakistani schoolgirl who survived being shot by the Taleban to campaign for female education.
Now World Peace tartan, created in Edinburgh, has been revealed as the best-selling design at one of Scotland’s leading manufacturers of the material, outstripping Scotland’s ancient clan tartans and surnames associated with the hit TV show Outlander, which is partly set in the Scottish Highlands.
Victor Spence, president of the Edinburgh Interfaith Association, came up with the idea of a World Peace tartan to convey a message of peace.
The goal was also to raise money for the World Peace Tartan Foundation (WPTF) which invests in education initiatives that build a culture of peace and non-violence, as well as projects working to alleviate child poverty in Scotland and overseas.
The first ever scarf in the tartan was presented to the Dalai Lama during his visit to Edinburgh in 2012.
Since then the scarf – whose colours include light blue for hope and the United Nations, purple and green for the Scottish thistle, red and black for the realities of war and violence, and white as a symbol of peace and light – has been a “must have” for tourists and visitors.
Spence, spokesman for the Tartan Weaving Mill on Castlehill in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, said: “When people see the World Peace tartan, which is a contemporary tartan, they see something they can immediately relate to.
“Everyone wants to see peace when there is so much violence in the world.
“While Outlander has definitely helped the sale of tartans, World Peace tartan still beats it.
“People tend to buy their own clan tartan scarf, kilt or item and then get a World Peace scarf at the same time.”
Spence added: “Tartan with its warp and weft is something which shows how we are all interconnected and interdependent.
“There are people with great wealth but others who are suffering physical violence in places like the Yemen or the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“But violence is not just physical – there can be ‘passive’ violence too, such as doing nothing to intervene, bullying and misogyny.
“So when we say the tartan is to promote peace, we mean this in all its forms.”
As well as going towards overseas projects, funds from the sale of the tartan will help support a breakfast club at Royal Mile Primary School in Edinburgh and the Dalmally-based based charity Mary’s Meals.
Veronika Tudhope, joint co-ordinator at Scottish CND, who attended the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, said: “We’re delighted when anyone in Scotland is thinking about peace and world peace too.
“The World Peace tartan reaches beyond the usual suspects and spreads the message far and wide.
“At the moment the world feels like a very dangerous place, but in actual fact the UN passed a global ban treaty in July 2017 to abolish nuclear weapons and this gives us more cause for hope than we’ve had since Hiroshima.”