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Scottish Tartans Authority

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The Scottish Tartans Authority (STA) is a Scottish based organisation dedicated to promoting the knowledge of Scottish tartans. It was first formed in 1996 by former members of the Scottish Tartans Society. The organisation is dedicated to informing and educating the public about tartan, to facilitating research into tartan and Scottish heritage, to representing and supporting the businesses involved in the tartan sector and to maintaining the collection and library of tartan related artefacts, manuscripts and books.


Membership of the Scottish Tartans Authority is made up of organisations involved in the tartan and highland wear industry, such as weavers and retailers, as well as members of the public, with an interest in Scottish history and heritage. The Scottish Tartans Authority is a registered charity in Scotland and the only organisation dedicated to preserving, promoting and protecting tartan.

National Tartan Centre

The organisation has the aim of establishing a National Tartan Centre (NTC). The proposed Centre would be a home and showcase for Tartan - presenting the iconic cloth to the world.

The NTC will be:

  • An educational resource for formal and informal audiences, and learners of all ages
  • A showcase for Scottish history and contemporary culture
  • A showcase for the tartan industry
  • A gateway to other sites of relevance and interest
  • A forum for debate and discourse on issues of identity and culture
  • As of 2016 the STA is working with a range of partners to find a permanent home for the Centre. [1]


    Membership of the Scottish Tartans Authority is open to anyone, with fees ranging from £20 yearly for private membership, from £50 for business membership and £500 for lifetime membership, as of 2016. The Scottish Tartans Authority maintains a website which lists about 3,500 different tartans, though detailed information of each design is only available to members. There are a range of membership benefits, according to the website but perhaps most importantly membership directly contributes to ensuring that one of Scotland's most treasured icons is maintained for future generations of Scots, both home and abroad.


    The Scottish Tartans Authority, like the Scottish Tartans Society, was granted a coat of arms by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. The arms, granted in 2004, contain a shuttle, an ell measure, and a book. Also included upon the arms is a white fret on a blue background. This symbolises the weaving process in making a tartan, and alludes to St Andrew's cross which appears upon Scotland's national flag, the Saltire. The heraldic motto, "Weave truth with trust", is borrowed from The Worshipful Company of Weavers, a London livery company first awarded a Royal Charter in 1155.

    Tartan Database

    The database of the Scottish Tartans Authority is a record of all known tartan designs. This database is very similar to, and was originally based on, the Register of All Publicly Known Tartans of the Scottish Tartans Society, but contains twice as many entries – about 6,000, accordingly the STA's website lists about only 3,500 different tartans as of 2004.


    The Scottish Tartans Authority's website includes information on how to wear Highland Dress, the history of Tartan and the links between Scottish surnames and Scottish clans. They deal with a wide variety of enquries about tartan.


    Scottish Tartans Authority Wikipedia

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