Furniture maker designs wooden kilt



By Cara Sulieman

A FURNITURE maker hopes his latest designs will nail approval from the fashion critics next week – when his WOODEN kilt hits the fashion catwalks in New York.

Anselm Fraser, 52, crafted the garment out of rough hessian material and wooden slats for the Dressed to Kilt fashion show at New York Tartan Week.

Having made furniture for 25 years, he had always fancied a go at making clothes, and the show provided the perfect opportunity.

“I think it’s beautiful”

Anselm said: “I am really proud of the kilt, and I think it’s beautiful.

“Wood catches the light in such an incredible way, and I hope this might inspire more people to use it in clothes.”

Anselm, who founded the Chippendale International School of Furniture in Gifford, East Lothian, took 10 weeks to make the kilt after a few false starts.

He said: “It has taken a lot of work – the first few attempts really didn’t work at all, and the sporran was very difficult to get right, but now it hangs and swings just like a real kilt.”

Reception was “fantastic”

And the kilt got its first airing when Anselm wore it on the streets of Venice recently where the reception was “fantastic.”

He said: “Walking around in it in Venice was an amazing experience, although I have to admit sitting down was quite tricky and not very comfortable, so I think I shall have to work on that and maybe put a cushion at the back.”

And the wooden kilt will get paraded down the catwalk next Monday when Dressed for Kilt hits New York.

The annual event celebrates the best of Scottish contemporary design, and always attracts a healthy number of celebrities from both sides of the Atlantic who walk the catwalk for charity.


Organised by Friends of Scotland, a charity headed up by Sean Connery, the fashion show is their main fundraising event of the calendar.

But some have their doubts over the authenticity of Anselm’s creation.

Howie Nicholsby, a kiltmaker who has dressed KT Tunstall and Robbie Williams, thinks that it lacks the criteria to be named a kilt.

He said: “Unfortunately it has not got any sort of actual pleating, thus it can’t technically be called any type of kilt. The word kilt means to tuck or pleat, from the Danish origin ‘kilite.’

“Really unusual”

But he praised the creativity of the design, saying it is perfect for the fashion show.

He said: “It’s always great when someone comes up with something really unusual and creative.

“I think it will be great for Dressed to Kilt. It’s conceptual, so you never know what may come out of its idea.”