We are often asked to make tartan clothing for celebrities and we would love to name drop and shout about it but it wouldn’t be ethical unfortunately. We do have one however who I am allowed to tell you about. He is a regular visitor to ScotlandShop, his voice is instantly recognisable as he climbs the stairs to the office at our base in the Borders and it doesn’t take him much time with those long legs! Whether you are a rugby fan or not, you are bound to have heard of him, as he is a larger than life character in so many ways and as colourful in character as the tartans he chooses to don!
I am in awe of Doddie Weir and not just because he is almost half a metre taller than me, Doddie was an extremely talented rugby player, he boasts more than 60 International caps for Scotland, played rugby for local team Melrose and Newcastle Falcons. At almost 2 metres tall, you wouldn’t think he would feel the need to wear attention seeking clothing, but we have made him some unforgettable outfits over the years!
We have of course made him a pair of trews in his own Weir tartan, for his brother’s wedding, but he often opts for the bolder tartans to suit the occasion; black and white to appear at a Newcastle Falcons event, red and green for Leicester Tigers. One of his best one to date though, has to be the MacFarlane suit he asked us to make for him, one half in MacFarlane Modern and the other in MacFarlane Hunting Modern, we were excited to see it and we were not disappointed when it came from our tailors.
He appeared on BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight in February last year, wearing another of our tartan suits, where he had a go at the smash-o-meter, perhaps slightly overdressed for such antics and we are sure if he had been wearing something more casual he would have got a better score!
On holiday last year I met a couple, who on hearing I was from Scotland, took great pride in showing me a photo of Mr Weir himself, wearing one of our tartan suits. It was in Barclay Dress Modern no less, a bright yellow and black tartan, not for the faint hearted, appropriately chosen, as it is the colours of Melrose RFC, his former team and home of the rugby sevens. I don’t think they believed me, when I told them that I worked for the company who made the suit. What struck me is that they were full of admiration and had nothing but good to say, about our Doddie, as he had been invited as a guest speaker to their rugby club’s charity dinner and had the guests in stitches.
Indeed public speaking is just one of the many strings to his bow and Doddie has become very much in demand, he is described as a “Scottish rugby legend” and a “multi talented phenomenon”, who is widely accepted across a multitude of occasions.
Last year Doddie was given some Harris Tweed fabric as a gift after speaking at a rugby club in the Western Isles. He brought it in and asked if we could make him a suit out of it. It was lovely fabric but very thick and heavy and not really suit fabric, but Doddie being Doddie was adamant that he wanted a suit made in it, and when it was made up it could only have been made for Doddie with its bright colours. He wore the suit at the RSABI dinner in February and is pictured above alongside fellow Scotland internationalist Alex Dunbar.
He lives locally, near Lauder and when the new school was opened in the town, by Princess Anne no less, Doddie, as Chairman of the School Parent Council, greeted her wearing a pair of our trews, in Lauder tartan of course. He is a familiar face here in the Scottish Borders. Each Border town has a festival and most have ride outs, around the boundaries of the town on horseback. Doddie was photographed riding ahead of my husband Ian, at the Gala Day rideout in Galashiels this year, and it struck me that my husband was wearing tartan but for once Doddie wasn’t! I thought at the time, maybe this could be his next purchase, a tartan waistcoat for wearing on his horse! But no, I was wrong, his next project was something far more exciting, a suit to wear for the Lions Tour in New Zealand and this time he wanted a suit made in 4 tartans, one to represent each of the four countries.
It took a bit of choosing but he finally settled for Pride of Scotland Modern for his home country and Pride Ireland and Wales were then an easy and natural choice, England on the other hand was much harder, so in the end we opted for a red and white tartan, and Lewis Red finished the quartet of Lions tartans off. So if you are lucky enough to be out watching the Lions this summer then you won’t miss the great man that is Doddie Weir.
Of course as you will have seen in the press this larger than life character has had some devastating news recently and on his return from New Zealand we are looking forward to working with our favourite customer and adding a tartan twist to awareness and fund raising for Motor Neurone Disease.