London, Sept 24 : Scotland's traditional dress, kilt, is under threat from cheap foreign "knock-offs"- storming in from the Far East and even Morocco.
Seeing the move, Scotland's leading kilt makers have launched a campaign to protect the traditional knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, from cut-price imitations.
The kilt makers held a summit meeting in a Perth hotel to determine what exactly makes a Scottish-made kilt so special and to identify the skills needed to make one.
Over the next few weeks, industry leaders will create a set of national occupational standards to act as a blueprint for the traditional kilt-making industry.
"Both Scotch whisky and the kilt are synonymous with Scotland. Whisky is regulated, with standards to protect the integrity of the brand - so why should it be any different for the kilt?" the Scotsman quoted Jacqui Cullen, Skillfast-UK's manager in Scotland, as saying.
"We want to help Scotland's kilt-makers to define the kilt, and the skills that go into its creation, to help protect the quality standard and guard against inferior imitations from abroad," Jacqui added.
Cullen said that at its best, kilt making could be compared to the specialist skills required by London's Savile Row tailors.
"At the top end of the market, the kilt is a bespoke garment, tailored for an individual's shape," Jacqui said.
"It is very important for the heritage of Scotland that people who have these talents share the skills and knowledge that they have, so it can be maintained and passed on," Jacqui added.
According to Louise Wood, the council's director of marketing, globalisation has posed a threat to the traditional kilt making industry.
"Garments which are calling themselves Scottish kilts, but are truly not worthy of the name," said Wood.
"They are nice pleated skirts, but they are not to be confused with the genuine Scottish article. But until you have really defined what a Scottish kilt is, then you can't really protect it.
"We would have to jump through a lot of legal hoops to secure a local identification mark, but, potentially, if we can come up with definition of what a Scottish kilt is, it could open up the way for that to happen," she added.