Few pipe bands have a history of uniforms as interesting as that of the Mohawk Valley Frasers.

As described in the band history, the Mohawk Valley Frasers were originally called the 78th Fraser's Highlanders. The original band uniforms were designed to recreate the uniforms that the 18th century 78th Highland Regiment of Foot would have worn when they were garrisoned at Fort Stanwix, in Rome, NY.

Soldiers of Fraser's Highlanders would have worn a great kilt (a belted plaid) in wool fabric issued by the British Military in the standard government pattern (now called the Black Watch), a long, loose shirt, a regimental wool vest and jacket in red and buff, diced hose, buckled shoes, sporran, and bonnet.


The Band Uniform of the 1970s

When recreating the 18th century uniform, the 78th Fraser’s Highlanders Pipe Band chose modern kilts, rather than great kilts, in the Black Watch tartan. To recreate the effect of the belted plaid of the great kilt, the band wore plaids when in full dress. All band members wore loose shirts with ruffled fronts and cuffs, an authentic leather stock at the throat (to protect the neck from bayonet thrusts), long red wool vests with silver buttons, brown leather sporrans, and diced hose. Their bonnets had an impressive thatch of genuine bear fur.

It is an understatement to say that the band was distinctive in appearance in the 1970s – no one else looked like the 78th Fraser’s Highlanders. To be honest, some people giggled and pointed... until, that is, the band began winning championships. Then, the distinctive appearance of the band became a genuine advantage.

In cooler weather, pipers wore a red wool regimental jacket with buff-colored facings and cuffs over the vest and shirt. As was the custom in the British regiments of the 1700s, the drummers of the band wore “reverse clothing” – buff coats with red facings and cuffs.


The 1990s to Present

In 1993, the Mohawk Valley Frasers voted to change tartans. The tartan that the band settled on (the Modern MacGillivray) was a popular choice of band members and went well with the blue-gray jackets and hose already owned by the band.

In the late 1990s, the band abandoned the blue-gray hose and jackets in favor of black vests, black jackets, and white hose. The uniform has changed very little since then, ocassionally worn with the addition of Inverness capes to keep the heavy wool kilts safe from wind and rain.

The Braemar dancers now dance with the Mohawk Valley Frasers in a variety of tartans and vest colors.