I’ve always been fond of paisley print. I think the pattern is fun and whimsical. So, being the curious type I am, I decided I wanted to know more about where it came from. Don’t you wonder how things came to be, where they started and why? This is especially interesting to me with fashion, because lets face it, most of the fashion and styles we see have been around a long time in some form or another. Yes…… it’s not exactly the same as it always was, but for the most part, fashion cycles through.
So here you go!
Paisley~ The paisley symbol originated from Persia (current day Iran) 200-650 A.D. It made its way through the middle east and fashion in those parts of the world. So as time marched, Napoleon, and his wife, Josephine, loved the pattern. It was said that Josephine owned hundreds of shawls. Many of the shawls were brought back from Napoleon’s campaigns in other countries, many in the Middle East.
In Britain, shawls became popular in 1790 in Norwich, England. In 1805 they began production in a small town in Scotland by the name of Paisley. This is where the pattern name for paisley came from that we use today here in the U.S. This is not the name used in other countries. In France it’s called palme, bota in Netherland, bootar in India and peizuli in Japan.
As you can see, paisley has been around the world for a while, but it made a comeback here in the U.S. in the 1960’s through music. This music arrived from Britain with the Beatles, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, and the Kinks. In Britain one of the most popular places to shop was Carnaby Street. There was a designer by the name of John Stephen of Glaswegian. He was known as the “King of Carnaby” back then. His amazing style with bold colors led him to dress many leading rock stars during that time.
Paisley was ultimately adopted by Prince, and it became part of his persona. He eventually named his record label and recording studio after the design. After Prince’s untimely death at the age of 57 years old on April 21st, 2016, the Huffington Post featured an article by Alona Elkayam titled “Paisley: A Pattern Made For A Prince.” She wrote in her tribute,“Prince, like the paisley, your music and your name will transcend generations and cultures.”