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Seal skin ban bad news for sporran makers

A proposed European Union ban on seal skin could be bad news for Scottish manufacturers of sporrans, the traditional pouch worn with the kilt.
About 90 percent of sporrans are made of seal skin. Robin McClintock, who makes sporrans from a headquarters near Edinburgh, told The Independent that banning seal skin could open the business to cheap Asian imports.
"Seal skin has been a traditional skin used by the Highlanders for many years," said Ian Chisholm, who sells traditional Highland clothing in Inverness. "It would be a sad day for the Scotsman if we lost the use of seal skin."
Like many Highland "traditions," the sporran took its current form in the 19th century. In centuries past, the sporran was a functional pouch made of cloth or leather.
In the Victorian era, more elaborate versions of Highland dress became fashionable, including sporrans made of fur that were sometimes so large they almost hid the kilt and decorated with silver and even wildcat heads.
The recent rise of Scottish nationalism has created a new market for sporrans, especially among Scottish soccer fans.
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