and pipes start playing, and one of the most surprising moments
of the Re-Invention Tour begins. MadonnaTribe spoke to Rocky
Roeger and Kelly Stewart from USA
Kilts and learned how even the traditional
scottish kilt got it's very own Re-invention.
One of the most loved moments of Madonna's re-Invention tour
was the Bags and Pipe version of her classic song "Into
the Groove" that surprised the audience.
Madonna's dancers and then Madonna herself came up on stage
wearing the most traditional and recognizable piece of Scottish
clothing: the kilt.
The MadonnaTribe Team had the chance to talk to
and Kelly Stewart
the partners in charge of the USA
company, the sole designer and manufacturer
of the kilts used on the re-Invention tour.
USA Kilts is a real American, homegrown business that was started
in 2002, and recognized as one of the fastest growing companies
in the industry.
MT: So Rocky, how were you approached by the Madonna
team to create her special tour kilt?
RK: In March, we were contacted by a 'dance-troupe'
who said that they were out of the Los Angeles area, but they
did not give much more information than that. They asked us
to send samples of our different kilts. About 2 weeks after
we sent the samples, they contacted us again to let us know
that we had the job. Then they told us it was for Madonna.
MT: We learned through magazines that the
re-Invention kilt design is made by stylist Arianne Phillips.
Did you exchange ideas with her to achieve a better product?
RK: Madonna's costume department came to
us with some ideas of what Madonna wanted. We went through
several prototype models and design changes and eventually
came up with the longer kilts with box pleats that you see
in the concert.
MT: Did you do a Kilt rehearsal with the
dancers, the backing singers, and/or Madonna herself?
RK: No... we dealt with the Costume designers
over the phone. They rehearsed in the prototypes and gave
us feedback with what they wanted changed.
MT: How is this Kilt different from any other?
RK: Typically, pleats in a "standard"
kilt are flat, single fold knife pleats and the length stops
at the knee.
One of the changes that make the "Madonna kilts"
different is that they are very long (mid-calf).
Another is that it was made with box pleats, so that while
Madonna and her dancers were moving around, the pleats would
not stack up.
MT: How many "copies" of the kilt
did you make for each performer?
RK: We made a total of 40 kilts. Originally,
not all of the people on stage were going to get one, but the
dancers were going to each have 2. I think they used the spare
kilts to outfit other people on stage... whatever the total
number, they looked GREAT and we were very proud!
MT: Were you curious to see how the kilt you
made was going to be used on stage?
RK: Oh, yes. We knew that they would be dancing
in them, which is why they were designed the way the were (with
the box pleats). However, we were not informed ahead of time
how the kilts were going to be used or what was going to happen.
MT: How do you feel seeing the kilt on stage
and knowing that it will part of an
image that would reach so many people?
RK: It was a moment that both Rocky and I will
be proud of for a long time. We sat in the audience and heard
the bagpipes and drums before we saw the kilts. It sent chills
down our spines and was a very cool moment for both of us. We
sat back and thought to ourselves, "We created that!".
We knew inside that it was probably a once in a lifetime chance
to work on a project like that. Rocky and I made all 40 of them
ourselves and after all of that hard work, it was fantastic
to see that they made such an impact on everyone.
The kilts seemed to be the one part of the concert that everyone
remembered vividly... but we may be a bit biased. hahahaha...
MT: When Madonna wears something it istantly
becomes fashion. The same happened with this kilt. Did you receive
many requests by customer to have something similar to Madonna's
RK: We do get a lot of orders for the kilts.
Luckily we had anticipated that fact and made sure to have enough
of that particular tartan in stock in case we do get more orders.
MT: How do you consider the use of a traditional
item as the kilt in a pop
concert. Do you think using it this way is also a kilt "re-invention"?
RK: Yes, we do believe it is a kilt 're-invention'.
The model that we made for Madonna is by no means a traditional
We designed a garment that kept the traditional aspects of
the original Scottish kilt and gave them a modern twist (with
the longer length and the box pleats). We believe it worked
for her and her dancers.
MT: Singer Missy Elliot also wears a kilt
in one of the video in the show. Did
you manufactured her kilt as well?
RK: No, we did not make Missy Elliot's kilt,
but we wish we did!
MT: Is the Kilt of the Bagpiper a classic
one, different from the one of the
RK: To keep everyone uniform, the Bagpiper's
kilt (his name is Lorne) is the exact same design as the others.
MT: What is your approach to the manufacturing
in the Us of something that is traditionally Scottish?
RK: There are a lot of people in the US
with Irish and Scottish heritage. We've found for many of
them, buying/wearing a kilt is a generally new occurance.
people do not necessarily want to make such a substantial investment
purchasing something that they're not sure they will wear all
We recognized this gap and make quality kilts at affordable
prices in a reasonable timeframe (days, not months).
What other products "tartan related"
do you offer at your store.
Of course, we mostly make and sell custom
kilts; all different types (ranging in price from $80 US to
$250 US). We also carry sweaters, t shirts, and many types of
What is the future of the Kilt?
Like any peice of clothing, it evolves
and changes and goes through cycles. It is currently experiencing
a rebirth of sorts with solid color kilts and "price-point
kilts" here in the US.
If any article/style of clothing stays stagnant for too long,
it is due for a 're-invention' or it will die.
Thanks to Rocky Roeger
and Kelly Stewart
for sharing their time with the Tribe and revealing
how the classic scottish kilt has been Re-Invented into this
hugely successfull stage costume.
Be sure to visit USA
to learn more about how they produce their
amazing piece of craft and about what USA Kilts is able to offer
to its customers.