Five years ago, Rick Baldwin decided to wear a kilt every day for one year. It was a self-described "goofy experiment" in celebration of his 50th birthday.
"I’d never even touched a kilt,” Baldwin told Lois Reitzes on “City Lights.” “It was weird when I started.”
“I remember the first time I put it on and actually went out in public – there was a little bit of embarrassment, but there was something about it that was just like ‘I belong in this,’" Baldwin said. "There was just something that made me feel like a man. I became empowered.”
“Part of it is the level of confidence that you have to have to wear it,” added Cheri Brown, Baldwin’s “Life in a Kilt Podcast” co-host. While women have not traditionally worn kilts, Brown took to wearing them when she saw Rick’s new-found confidence.
Baldwin and Brown’s year-long experiment in the Scottish national dress spawned a social media following, a magazine, a podcast and now, a convention.
Kilt Con is billed as an unconventional convention celebrating the kilt on National Tartan Day, April 6. Brown and Baldwin will kick off the festivities tonight at Mac McGee’s Irish Pub in Decatur, and everyone is welcome: traditional and non-traditional kilt-wearers, kilt-enthusiasts, the kilt-curious and especially kilt-newbies.
The “Life in a Kilt Podcast” co-hosts also plan to stream their event on Facebook, and hope to inspire similar conventions worldwide.