Jackson Wagner – Kilt Maker and Co-Owner
Jackson Wagner retired from the military in 2010 and became a kilt maker with a local kilt shop in 2011. For three years he made kilts and managed the retail aspect of the shop. In 2014 when the shops owner announced his impending retirement, he decided to branch out on his own with the goal of establishing a custom kilt shop and Celtic clothing retail store.
Justin Guthrie – Kilt Maker and Co-Owner
North of Hadrian’s co-owner Justin Guthrie has been working in the clothing industry for nearly 10 years. In 2013 he apprenticed as a kiltmaker in a local kilt shop. In 2014 when that shop’s owner announced his impending retirement, he decided to partner with kiltmaker Jackson Wagner to establish a custom kilt shop and Celtic clothing retail store.
Local Kilt Makers Bring Breath of Fresh Air to Classic Garment Making Tradition
Jackson Wagner and Justin Guthrie are on a mission to bring the joy and freedom of everyday kilt wearing to men and women of all ages. They live by example, wearing kilts every day. Wagner only owns one pair of pants. Guthrie says, “It takes a certain amount of confidence to wear a kilt. When you strap a kilt around your waist you’re telling the world – I don’t care what you think, this is what I like. Confidence is sexy.” They own North of Hadrian’s Kilts and Celtic Clothing in View Royal. They are not kilt snobs. Though they will give kilt fashion advice when asked (maybe not with a cowboy hat), they encourage people to wear and accessorize their kilts anyway they like, “as long as the pleats are at the back”. There are a lot of kilt snobs out there, but there are very few kilt cops, says Guthrie.
There are a number of reasons for the resurgence of interest in the pleated garment – from the current kilt romance novel trend (yes that’s a thing right now!), to the hit show ‘Outlander’, which features the traditional garment – kilts, kilts and more kilts! And with the current trend towards personalized weddings, many young men are looking to bring a touch of their Scottish or Irish heritage to the occasion to make their family proud. Jackson and Justin recently created custom kilts for a Victoria wedding party. The stylish groom was Duncan Polson, Assistant Manager of the well-known Victory Barbars in the Atrium in Victoria. He said, “I don’t think my Dad has ever looked happier than he did seeing all his boys grown and in the MacKay green and blue. I’m especially thankful you could breathe new life into the old tartan my pops wore on his wedding day. My mother made it for him while they were just starting to date at university, and it means the world to us that it won’t just be a memory on the shelf.”
Wagner and Guthrie serve the traditional kilt wearing audience, such as military, pipe band musicians and highland dancers, but they are also exploring new potential markets. Last year they attended the Vancouver Fan Convention, where they had the chance to meet William Shatner. Despite the busy autograph line up, Shatner stopped long enough to have a quick chat with them about kilts. They also attended the 2015 Victoria Pride Parade, for which they designed a custom ‘pride kilt’, which features the colours of the rainbow tucked inside each pleat. One brand new pride kilt customer said, “I just got the pride kilt made for me and I have to say it looks amazing. Thank you guys for convincing me that kilts are a glorious piece of clothing that my wardrobe was lacking. I can’t wait to wear it.”
Wagner and Guthrie find that everywhere they go, people ask to have their photo taken with ‘the guys in kilts’. Wagner’s wife has started telling people that he is not a tourist attraction. She’s always surprised by the number of females attempting to answer the age old question, “What’s under your kilt? The kilt makers don’t seem to mind one bit. They just hand out their business cards.