Bags 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 Rocky Roeger and Kelly Stewart, the partners in charge of the USA Kilts 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.

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 kilt?

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 Scottish kilt.
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
other performers?

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.


These people do not necessarily want to make such a substantial investment purchasing something that they're not sure they will wear all that often.
We recognized this gap and make quality kilts at affordable prices in a reasonable timeframe (days, not months).


MT: What other products "tartan related" do you offer at your store.

RK: 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 kilt accessories.

MT: What is the future of the Kilt?

RK: 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 Kilts to learn more about how they produce their amazing piece of craft and about what USA Kilts is able to offer to its customers.

Copyright 2004 MadonnaTribe