My Story

As Paisley waved off its bid for UK City of Culture 2021, the bid documents themselves were all given a unique twist.

Artists, designers and groups with links to the town were invited to design bespoke front covers for the documents.

Bound with thread donated from Coats, the company to whom Paisley’s fortunes were tied and which is still a global force, each has its own Paisley inspired design.

As they are handed over to the judging panel of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who organise the competition, we can reveal the inspiration behind some of the 25 covers.

Read Ken MacDonald's story below.

As the third generation of a family kiltmakers business, Ken MacDonald knows his tartan.

The 58-year-old used his years of know how to create a brand new one – the Paisley Buddies tartan -  in honour of his home town.

He said: Everybody tends to like it. It’s  based on the vibrant Pantone colours used by the Paisley bid team and has actually been registered and is in the Scottish Tartan Register of Tartans. It’s quite a contrasting, complicated design.


“I think the colours really capture the positive effect the bid is having on the town.”

Ken, who runs Houston Kiltmakers with his son Ewan, said he thinks the bid could give the town the economic shot in the arm it needs.

He added: “It would have a huge economic impact not just on Paisley, but on Renfrewshire.

“Paisley has a very strong heritage and culture and its world renowned for its textile pedigree, not just in Paisley pattern. It wove tweeds and tartan so has given a lot of textiles to the world.

“People come here from all over the world to find out what their ancestral backgrounds are.

“Our business has been here since 1909 and has gone through two world wars and a depression and now Brexit. It’s important that people buy into the Paisley 2021 bid because it will bring a lot of economic benefit to everybody with tourism and jobs.”