Introduction to Cargokilts
We have moved to a far more central location. In future, find us at Unit 1, 1 Ohm Street, Ohm Street Industrial Park, Kya Sands, Randburg.
Cargokilts essentially formed from a very peculiar full centre-fold advertisement in a liberal newspaper in the late 80’s where a prominent industrialist in South Africa bragged about his new yellow Ferrari, sporting the caption “The country’s best babe magnet”
We were young then, full of beer at the time, and with dangerous levels of testosterone in our blood: The whole idea of a babe magnet, which could be of extra assistance in the event of our good looks or most attractive personality failing us, sounded like an exquisite idea, however, a Ferrari was a tad above our budgets. (In fact, and form of motorized transport at that stage which wasn’t borrowed from dad was too.)
We were discussing this situation at length at the local watering hole and salivating over the lasses.
As if out of the blue, a friend, and an exchange student from Scotland with his broad Aberdeenshire accent stated the painfully obvious: “Aarhg laddies, a kilt is a better fannytrap than a Ferrari, let’s get some”. Kilt hire was something which was basically unheard of back then, and we did not have the budget to travel back and forth to one of the big cities for that purpose, so, we contacted the only other kilt wearing community we could think of, i.e. the military.
At last we got through to the Regimental Sargent Major of the Transvaal Scottish Regiment, and we were told in no uncertain terms, as only an RSM can, to let go of the idea of abusing their kilt or make our own; and this is exactly what we did.
We knew about mechanical design, and could probably build a steam-punk sewing machine out of bits of scrap, but none of us knew a thing about sewing. We also would far rather spend our limited cash on beer than on tartan, and thus, we made a plan. We liberated some unused curtains, black bull-denim ones, and went to the drawing board.
We knew that kilts had to have pleats, but that was about it. During working out the pleats, someone pointed to a regulation regarding the carnival procession which stated that you may carry alcoholic beverages if it was on your person, and that none may be carried in rucksacks or any other form of bag. The kilts thus had to have pockets… And THAT dear reader is how the Cargokilt was conceived. A non-bifurcated garment to act as babe-magnet of note, with enough pocket space to comfortably carry six beers, made of durable fabric to withstand most of the abuse one could through at it, and be machine washable at the Laundromat.
Today’s Cargokilts are in essence still exactly the same as those first working prototypes were, and most of what we produce is still made in black bull denim. Other colours and camouflage patterns are readily available.
All our products are made to measure to the client’s measurements.
It was only in later years, in 2010 and after the hobby became a business that we started to work in Tartan.
Incidentally, that RSM who told us off so many years ago, phoned and said they wanted hundred and fifty new kilts for the regiment, and the task of finding a tartan to match the Murray of Athol tartan which was specified (1914 vintage) started.
It just wasn’t available, but the sheer quantity of tartan required justified weaving it. We thus embarked on a most-frustrating journey of finding a weaver who would weave the tartan to specification, and not charge an arm, a leg and an few other very vital body parts.
Said weaver was never found, but, we did come across an unused loom, made in Glasgow in 1902, capable of weaving a double width tartan with a self-edge.
Loom was procured, tartan was woven (what a learning curve) and kilts were made, delivered, and may it be said, to the delight of one of the most traditional Regiments out there.
Today, we are capable of weaving any tartan. Our preferred fibre-blend for tartan is 75% wool, 25% acrylic, since this makes the tartan moth proof, whilst retaining the luxury of pure wool. It will hold a pleat better than pure wool, and it is suitable for home washing, thus reducing the cost of ownership of your kilt.
Our set-up is such that we can easily weave 50m of a bespoke tartan and we also offer a tartan design and registration service. From our very small and humble beginnings, and in a country which is not really known for wearing kilts, we have grown the market for Cargokilts to cult status, and produce a vast array of tartans, tartan kilts and accessories, including 65 different tartans, a good selection of sporrans, Jacobite shirts, tartan county caps, tartan ties, tartan scarfs etc.
To date we have exported our products to 54 different countries and the export market is currently our biggest business. Every item is still hand made to the specifications of the customer.
It may take longer to get your kilt from us, but the fit and craftsmanship will be perfect.