St Andrews Day At The Heart Of Europe: Brussels Icon In "Scotland In Europe" Tartan

30 November 2007
SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith has today applauded as the much loved Brussels icon the Mannekin Pis joined in the St Andrew's day spirit by sporting, with some panache and not a little savoir faire, a new 'Scotland in Europe' tartan and kilt outfit.

The outfit, designed by Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles and Design students Nicola Moffat and Yvette Wilson, is made of a new 'Scotland in Europe' tartan. This was designed especially for the occasion after Mr Smith set the unusual challenge to the School of Textiles and Design of designing a new tartan to celebrate Scotland in Europe, and of dressing up the Brussels statue.

The tartan will go on to be produced commercially in Scotland by weavers Lochcarron, and Mr Smith will himself sport a kilt made of the same tartan at the European Parliament Burns night.

The tartan and the Mannekin's outfit were launched at a reception at Brussels Town Hall in the presence of the Mayor, a ceremonial guard and a crowd of Scots Europeans. A procession led by a piper proceeded to the formal unveiling of the Mannekin.

Speaking in the town hall Mr Smith said:

"Mr Mayor, honoured guests, friends, Scots-Europeans! I must say that of all the jobs I have had to do in representing Scotland in Europe as a Member of the European Parliament, this has been the most fun!

"The links between Scotland and Brussels, and the people of the Low Countries go back centuries, and I'm proud today to have helped us to cement those links still further by providing the Mannekin Pis with a new, and rather stylish, addition to his wardrobe!

"I would thank you and your staff for the co-operation in dressing the Mannekin Pis, I would thank Jenny Gibbons and the team at Scotland House for working so hard on bringing us here and I would thank Kirsty Macgregor and Mark Timmins of Heriot Watt for all their help.

"But pride of place today has to go to our designers, and I would congratulate Nicola Moffat for designing such a vibrant new tartan and Yvette Wilson for the design of an outfit that has to be one of the most unusual briefs ever set! When I put down the challenge to Heriot Watt's students I was not sure what to expect, but was bowled over by the professionalism, creativity and enthusiasm for the project. The Scots fashion industry is leading Europe and with talent like Yvette and Nicola I'm sure will go from strength to strength.

"I'm proud the Scots identity can adapt and accommodate and welcome anyone, even small statues the other side of the North sea! I'm looking forward to wearing my own Scotland in Europe kilt, but I'm sure we're all looking forward to seeing the Mannekin in his.