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A Bonnie Good Idea: Thanks To Alum Frank Shaw, Furman Gets Its Own Tartan Design

What is purple and white, made of worsted wool, and carries the official approval of one of Scotland's most august organizations?

If you guessed the new Furman tartan, chances are you may have already purchased an item of clothing made with the Paladin plaid.

The Furman tartan, which made its debut at Homecoming, was designed by Scotland's Jamie Scarlett, one of the top tartan experts in the United Kingdom. It was woven exclusively for Furman, and is officially registered with the Scottish Tartans Authority.

Items featuring the university's tartan are currently available at the Furman Bookstore, and include neckties, bowties, sashes, stoles, scarves, cummerbunds and visors. Special orders can be made for kilts, trews (pants), Piper's Plaid, and lady's pleated skirts.

Bookstore officials reported that they sold more than 150 items of tartan-designed clothing during Homecoming weekend, including 77 neckties and 49 scarves.

The fact that Furman has its own tartan is due primarily to the diligence of Frank Shaw, a 1961 Furman graduate who also sits on the university's Board of Trustees. Shaw, a resident of Atlanta, traced his family roots to Scotland a few years ago and consequently developed a great interest in all things Scottish.

"I had visited other colleges and universities that had their own tartan, and I thought it would be great if Furman had its own design as well," Shaw said. "So I approached (Furman president) Dr. (David) Shi about the possibility, and he told me to pursue it. My wife, Susan, and I had become good friends with Jamie Scarlett during previous visits to Scotland, and he was gracious enough to offer his help."

Scarlett made the first Furman tartan by hand on his personal loom. The entire process, from the design stage to the finished product, took about two years.

For more information, call the Furman Bookstore at 864-294-2164 or visit the Furman website at You can also visit the Scottish Tartans Authority at

(Image provided by Furman University.)

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