Why I created the Virohazard tartan

Born from my anxiety...

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“OK, so I’m feeling very anxious ...anxious and afraid… I’m fearful of the coronavirus.

And I fear the worst but want to remain calm.

I’m not so afraid for my own health, and the risk to my own life... instead I'm really worried of the threat to my mum and dad… I fear for their lives. I fear for the older ones in my family, and my friends and their families. And I worry about those with underlying health issues, and the vulnerable in our communities, towns and cities.


Virohazard the 'Be Aware' tartan - by Steven Patrick Sim the Tartan Artisan


I fear for the world...



Virohazard tartan Be Aware by Steven Patrick Sim the tartan artisan


At first, I couldn’t imagine what was happening in front of me... this insidious virus that can hide in people, in the fit and healthy, then indiscriminately attack the vulnerable, the weak ...and the elderly. In fact it can attack anyone of us! It’s in this this context ...and from my anxieties ...that I found myself inspired.

So I created the tartan as a PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING. A tartan which could become a visual reminder to be aware… aware of the dangers that are now lurking in the microscopic world all around us.

I say this because we need to do our best to protect the vulnerable in our families, in our communities and in our care. I need to be aware to protect my mum and dad, to the best I can. All those who are at risk ...and sadly, not all will survive this human tragedy which is happening in real time!

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We now live in a strange world, where a new danger lurks in the very air we breathe ...and in the very things we touch.

So, over a period of a few weeks in February and March 2020 my mind would race as I watched the news, and from that I found myself creating the tartan as a way to express my feelings. It was simply a reminder to me personally, at first to be vigilant. It was my therapy.

But then I began to think, maybe this tartan I created might have a wider purpose ...could it become a visible reminder to keep safe? That I could put out there? ...a warning for the public.

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A warning that could be worn or displayed that will keep in mind the need to be vigilant. It’s something I can do… tartan is how I present a message... and I've always believed tartan has a power within its weave, that can empower people, with a sense of purpose as well as identity.

But I've also come to think that maybe the tartan can represent a community spirit, of togetherness. Something that can represent solidarity ...in our isolation as we keep ourselves apart ...as we fight back against the virus.

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I called the tartan - Virohazard - and the colours boldly reminded me of the hazard to health, and the virus. But then the slogan I wanted to promote became more prominent in my mind - to Be Aware - and now that's the message I want the tartan to send out.

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That all said, there is something else very significant in the tartan...

The black pivot tragically came to represent death… because that is how serious this is, for some of the unfortunate ...and it shows you how serious I am, about this warning...

I am truly saddened at the loss of every single person to this virus, and I offer my sincere condolences to all of the loved ones of those taken.

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But I then thought ...maybe the black should instead become a memorial, a way to respectfully remember those who have succumbed and lost their fight to this insidious disease, and a way to never forget the deadly virus that took them.

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So I pray my mum and dad will win their fight, if and when it comes to their door, and I will be strong if it comes for me.

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I hope you approve, and this tartan is received positively. Maybe if someone sees it they might just wash their hands, or walk instead of take the bus. Or maybe they’ll do some shopping and drop that off at an elderly neighbours’ door… or maybe they'll simply stay at home.

Could a life then be saved…?

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I want to try and make a difference, so during the pandemic I’m donating 60% of proceeds from scarf sales to NHS Scotland to help them as they provide health care and life saving support to the Scottish public during the continuing epidemic.

You can learn more and donate here:


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So please stay vigilant… and be aware!

…after all, we are all one human family, one universal clan. We're all in this fight together. Take care!

Steven Patrick Sim





Sheena Booth MBE

Ingenious idea and to help our wonderful NHS well done

David Ian George
I would like information on your face mask please and the price. I think it’s a marvellous idea and would be interested in buying one.


Violet Rennie

Love your story i will be buying a facemask thankyou Violet x

Nan Smillie

You’ve thought this out well. Is there a component in the scarf which would stop particles going through the fabric? Thank you for creating this scarf and for what you are doing for the NHS. You are truly generous and caring.

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