April 12, 2012

Interview with a Kilt Lover

When I see a man in a kilt, I can't possibly keep back my curiosity. I have a great love for originality and fearlessness in character. So naturally, when I found myself sitting next to Ari in church, I had to ask him if I could interview him for my blog. He very graciously accepted.

Q: Why do you wear a kilt?

There are a lot of reasons that I wear a kilt, actually. I like to be different and stand out from a crowd. I like to wear the kilt to honor my Celtic heritage. I grew up going to family reunions and hearing about my Scottish ancestors, so I developed a lot of love and respect for them from a young age. I also love to wear kilts because they are simply more comfortable than pants!

Q: When did you start?

I got my first kilt a little more than three years ago. I would have purchased one sooner if I had found a way to.

Q: Where do you wear it?

There isn't a place that I won't wear a kilt. I have different kilts to replace pants in every situation from formal attire to back packing, and from a professional look to pajamas. I wear my kilt to work.

Q: How often do people you meet ask you about it?

I get asked about my kilt on a daily basis. It is a great conversation starter, and it is a fun way to meet new people.

Q: How do people treat you compared to before you started wearing it?

I get mostly positive responses. It is sort of like being a small time celebrity. Everyone looks and a lot of people ask about it. Before I started wearing a kilt I blended in to the crowd and usually didn't get noticed. Now everyone notices.

Often I meet people with Scottish heritage who own kilts that they wear only on special occasions like weddings or to highland games. This gives us an instant kinship and many of them have said that I inspire them to wear their kilt more often.

Q: Have you ever been treated rudely because of your unique attire?

Really only once that I can think of has any one said a negative comment about it to me.

Q: Have you ever felt embarrassed wearing it?

No actually. When I first decided to wear a kilt, I had to make the decision to "own it." I knew that if I was going to wear a kilt as everyday clothing I would have to wear it with pride. So I do.

Q: How many kilts do you own?

I have 8 kilts right now and I am always working on getting the next one. I have different styles of kilts. Most of them are the traditional kilts that you would think of, but I also have a Utilikilt which is a modernized kilt made here in the US that is made in a solid color and has pockets etc. I also have a feilidh mor or great kilt, which is a style of kilt that was worn in the 1600's and 1700's and is essentially 4.5 yards of double width tartan fabric that is hand pleated and belted on each time it is worn.

Q: What other Scottish accessories do you wear?

I wear kilt hose, a sporran (the pouch worn over the front apron of the kilt), flashes (garters to keep my kilt hose up), a sgian dubh (small knife traditionally worn in the top of the right sock), a Balmoral tam (Scottish hat).

Q: Can you play the bagpipes? Any other instruments?

I have started learning but I don't know much yet. I love bagpipe music though, I think its in my blood. I play bass guitar, and guitar.

Q: What Scottish clans are your ancestors from?

I have ancestors from many different Scottish clans. The two that I have the closest ties to, are Clan Gunn and Clan MacTaggart. On my Dad's side I am a Robinson, and Robinsons are a sept or family from Clan Gunn. My mother's maiden name is Taggart and the Taggarts came from clan MacTaggart.

Q: How is your name pronounced and what does it mean?

My name, Aryeh, is pronounced like you are reading the names of the letters R, E, A. It is a Hebrew name that means Lion. [He goes by Ari.]

Q: Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

Q: How do you feel about the typical conformity of Utah culture?

I feel that every one should be free to choose whether to conform to the crowd or stand out from it. Do whichever makes you feel happy. Accept everyone for who they are.

It does make me a little sad when I read in the newspaper about high school students who are banned from wearing kilts from their proms, etc. I see this a few times each year across the country. It happened a couple of years ago here in Utah, from what I recall the school eventually apologized and let the student wear his kilt in the end. I think that kilts should be acceptable as everyday clothing for men in this country, and I am thankful that I haven't run into anyone who has judged me negatively for it yet.

Q: Your wife seems to be proud of your originality. How did she respond to your kilt when you met her?

Kaelin and I are both creative people and we are a little eccentric. We met in an art class and my kilt helped her to see my originality right off the bat. It was a great ice breaker.

Q: Has Kaelin ever been embarrassed by your kilt wearing habits?

Not yet.

Q: What do your parents think?

My parents tolerate it pretty well. They love and support me, and have gotten used to me being a little eccentric but I think they still hold out hope that I will "grow out of it."

Q: What do your in-laws think?

My in-laws have been great about accepting me for who I am and how I express myself.

Q: What do your kids think?

My kids think I am a little crazy at times but all in all they are supportive of my kilt habits.

Q: What advice do you have for others on being brave and secure with yourself?

You have to be proud of who you are. Don't stress too much about what others might think of you. Wearing a kilt every day constantly reminds me of my choice to be proud of who I am and where I come from. I have learned that as long as I am proud of wearing my kilt and I project that mentality, people around me will accept me, kilt and all.

Q: If you could be a character in a book or movie, who would you choose?

That's a tough one, but my inner nerd would have to pick Charles Bartowski from the TV series Chuck.

Don't you want to be his friend?

What I admire most about Ari's attitude is that he seems to expect the best from people. Rather than believing that others will be judgmental of his differences, he is proud and unafraid. In response, people respond positively and kindly to him.

What could you learn from Ari? What would you do differently if you didn't worry about being judged? Share it in the comments!


  1. Well, I guess you could say that there isn't anywhere I won't wear pants. About two Sundays of every month, I wear slacks to church, because I don't feel like wrestling with a skirt and an almost-three-year-old. So far I've only had people say nice, respectful things about my decision and I live in South Jordan!

    I enjoyed this post a lot. I don't know about Aryeh, but I prefer it when people ask me about my different wardrobe choice instead of pretending that I'm invisible because I'm doing something "different". Yes, we can talk about this, people.

    1. I love when people ask me about my kilt. It is part of the fun of wearing one.

    2. Jen, I actually thought of you and your pants-wearing when I posted this. It's funny how such a simple thing as wearing pants to church (gasp!) would make people feel awkward. Obviously people aren't oblivious when they're doing something outside the norm, so ignoring it is kind of strange to me.

  2. That is simply awesome. (Heather)

  3. Hah! I just realized we both did interviews for our K post. Your interviewee is much cooler though.
    I like Aryeh's style for sure. I would love it if Ty wore one, but I think you have to have the ancestry to "own" it so to speak.

  4. As a member of the Campbell clan, I can appreciate Aryeh's demonstration of Scottish pride. Grandpa Campbell was very proud of his Scottish heritage but also had a lot more inhibition when it came to wearing kilts. He told a story of being a child singer, often performing in his kilt. As a result he was forced to "show off" his kilt in grade school, with the teacher making him go from class to class. He was embarrassed. I guess he didn't own it.

  5. This was such an interesting post Lisa. I love Aryeh's healthy sense of himself and I love that you did an interview for 'K' in the a to z challenge!

  6. I, myself loves kilt so much. Aside from it's very wonderful and stylish broads, my actions keeps me aware that I am comfortable dress. Besides, this passion reminds me of the ancient moments. So I'm a bit fan of this kilt.

  7. Hi! This might interest you :). There are kilts in your tartan, Campbell of Argyll on stock-clear sale here: http://www.heritageofscotland.com/Casual-Kilts/cid,11534458,index.php



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