Howie Nicholsby

November 17, 2020


Howie Nicholsby is the creator of the iconic brand 21st Century Kilts, offering a unique take on traditional Scottish style. The use of original textiles, ranging from leather, gold and purple denim, camouflage, to pinstripe offer something different to those fond of this age old item.

21st Century Kilts is true to the original kilt which was worn as everyday clothing. Casual or formal, a kilt should be an option for any man from anywhere.

What are your favourite childhood memories of Scotland?

So many great car journeys in Scotland, the anticipation of the Palm Trees in Ullapool. My very earliest memories of Scotland are oddly from the U.S.A. Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta Georgia to be precise, in 1983, I was 5 years old. It was my mum & dad's first business venture to the States for their business Geoffrey (Tailor) Kiltmakers. Every October the park hosts one of the biggest Scottish festivals in the World, overshadowing the wee festivals I believe I visited as a toddler. On the first occasion, I remember crying under a table, my mum, dad and 7-year-old sister were so busy, I was a bit in the way. A lovely American family, the MacLaren's, offered to take me to show me around the festival. It was the 80's, off I went. Experiencing Highland Dance Competitions, heavy games, Caber tossing, Hammer throwing, world class pipe-bands competing. The following year, as I realised my sister had made pocket money, I insisted on a kilt, waistcoat, shirt & tie to wear and a box to stand on. Age 6 my first retail experience, I was in charge of selling the Kilt socks and garter flashes, I could even work the old slide card machine. It was all very exciting and people were excited that I was really from Scotland, it gave me a true love and a sense of pride for my home country.

Tell us a bit about how you have ended up dressing many famous people in your kilts?

I saw my parents dress many famous faces and once went to Charlton Heston's house in the Hollywood Hills to measure him for a kilt. It is amazing how many people, all over the world either have Scottish roots or just a love and passion for Scotland. With no arrogance intended my father told me at a young age, if you do something well and you have a good reputation, people from the top of their field will seek you out. I am very lucky to say I have been able to keep to this ethos with the growing of my own brand.

If you had to recommend only one place for a visitor to Scotland to visit, where would it be and why?

Oban and the surrounding area, it is a microcosm of Scotland, a lovely wee town, a gateway to the islands, it has a bit of everything. My wife and I married outside the town in 2007, friends and family were made so welcome and for some it was their first visit, the wedding was Lochside and although it rained, it was stunning.Without annoying Glaswegians, I'm half, my mums from Glasgow and it is a great fun vibrant city. I would obviously recommend flying into Edinburgh for a night or two either side. It is a stunning and easy drive from Edinburgh with lots of places to visit to spread out the journey. Maybe Glasgow on the way home, great drive down through Loch Lomond, I love driving around Scotland, and cycling.

What is your favourite Scottish season?

I don't have a favourite season, I love Scottish weather all year round, every day. The colours also vary all year round, I love all colour so hard to pick a favourite for that reason too. It is one of the reasons I always knew I'd always live in Scotland. I think it is very mild, never too hot, never that cold. I live by Billy Connolly's statement: "There's no such thing as bad weather in Scotland, just the wrang clothing"

You're rarely seen wearing anything other than a kilt, what are the advantages and disadvantages of that?

If you have seen me not in a kilt in the last 22 years, I was in my pyjamas!! :)

Our 21st century Scotland is an incredibly strong, contemporary brand, can you tell us a few people, places and products which exemplify this for you, which people should look out for?

Will have a think!

Thanks for answering our questions, where can people find out more about you and buy your kilts?