In Calculate Blog

If you thought Fibonacci and fashion didn’t go together, well, the team at Numberphile are here to prove you wrong.

Using the first eleven numbers in the Fibonacci sequence, Numberphile host Brady Haran recently had a very stylish and mathematically sound piece of tartan designed.

Tartan is actually a very number-based piece of fabric: the number of intersecting rows and threads determines each tartan’s unique design. The Numberphile tartan uses a repeating sequence of 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 & 89, resulting in a wide square of white, red, green, and olive thread. In the image below, you can see that the sequence begins with 1 green thread, 1 white thread, followed by two green threads, three white threads, and so on. This particular tartan is very specific, and went through a number of incarnations before the Numberphile Clan settled on this one.


Numberphile's specially made tartan, featuring the Fibonacci sequence

Numberphile’s specially made tartan, featuring the Fibonacci sequence


Numberphile also had a tartan ribbon made using the Golden Ratio to angle each line of white thread. The Golden Ratio (also known as The Golden Mean, Phi and The Divine Proportion) is a ratio of 1 to 1.618, and is widely considered to be aesthetically beautiful. The ratio is often found naturally occurring in sea shells and plant life, and has been replicated in art and architecture for thousands of years.

For a better look at the tartan (with a Fibonacci-inspired bagpipe tune to accompany), watch the video below.


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