Thursday 27 July 2017

Barack Obama officially has his own tartan and apparently he loves it

The former US president visited Scotland for the first time in May.

Barack Obama (Chris Jackson/PA)
Barack Obama (Chris Jackson/PA)

By Isabel Togoh

Former US President Barack Obama has been gifted with the ultimate Scottish cultural symbol: his very own tartan. And it’s official.

POTUS 44 was presented with the bespoke navy blue, sky blue, green, white and red kilt and trews during his trip to Edinburgh in May, where he attended a charity dinner.

But the Obama Family tartan, the colours of which represent his Kenyan and Hawaiian roots, as well as his close links with Chicago, was officially recognised yesterday by the Scottish Register of tartans – the country’s official record of the cloths.

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A sreen shot of the Obama Family tartan page on the Scottish Register of Tartans website

The tartan was commissioned by the Hunter Foundation to commemorate Obama’s first visit to Scotland, and was designed by Brian Halley of Slanj Kilts.

Halley was contacted the month before the charity event, and was commissioned by philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter’s charity to create the new tartan along with three kilts and trews, a pair of tartan trousers.

Halley told the BBC that Obama really appreciated the gesture: “Apparently, he loves the tartan and said he would wear the trousers rather than the kilt as he thinks his legs are too thin.”

He said of the top-secret project: “I don’t think there is a more famous man and I think he has the second most Twitter followers in the world, so it was very exciting.

“I was sworn to secrecy at the time, it was all very hush-hush.”

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Barack Obama during a round of golf on the Old Course at St Andrews (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The tartan incorporates several layers of Obama’s personal and political life.

The tartan’s notes on the register’s website reads: “The red, sky blue and white colours in the tartan are taken from the flag of Chicago where Mr Obama lives and works, navy blue represents the Hawaiian flag where Mr Obama was born and green represents the Kenyan flag to honour Barack Obama Senior’s family roots.”

When presented with the gifts in May, Obama said his legs were “too thin” to pull off the kilt, but said of the trews: “I think they look pretty good. So I might try some.”

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