How it all began!
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, any form of motorised transport at that stage which wasn’t borrowed from Dad, was too.
Cargokilts essentially formed from a very peculiar full centerfold advertisement in a liberal newspaper in the late 80’s.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.
"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 fanny trap 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.
"We knew about mechanical design, and could probably build a steampunk 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.
"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 that is exactly what we did.
Part Four - How Cargokilts came to be . . .
We knew that kilts had to have pleats, but that was about it. Whilst working out the pleats, someone pointed out 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 throw at it, and be machine washable at the Laundromat.
Part Five - The Weft & the Warp of it!
Incidentally, the RSM who told us off so many years ago, phoned and said they wanted a hundred and fifty new kilts for the regiment. It was then that the task of finding a tartan to match the Murray of Atholl 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, not charge an arm, a leg and a few other very vital body parts.
Said weaver was never found, but, we did come across an unused loom. Made in Glasgow in 1902 and 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.