The history of the paisley pattern dates back to centuries ago in ancient Babylon, or present Iraq, in 1700 BCE. Scholars have also argued the pattern originated from the city of Yazd in Iran, where a traditional fabric called a “Termeh” included patterns of what was then known as “Boteh.” The pattern resembles a host of things among them, a lotus, a mango, a leech, the yin yang symbol, even a dragon! In ancient Babylon, the paisley pattern was said to resemble an uncurled date palm, a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae, which was highly cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. The plant was a source of life’s basic necessities and produced food, wine, paper, and even shelter! Ancient Babylonians viewed the date palm as a symbol of prosperity, and thus the paisley pattern sprung into life as a result.
Role of Kashmiri in paisley design
The Kashmiri, natives of the Kashmiri region in the Indian-Pakistani border also played a huge role in the popularization of paisley patterns. The Kashmiri practice of khil’at, “robes of honor” embraced the use of shawls which were decorated in all sorts of patterns predominantly of paisley design. The shawls were exchanged in political and religious ceremonies. A person in power would give the shawl to his or her inferiors as a show of luxurious compensation.
Current trend in paisley design
The use of paisley in fashion and design is still widely embraced to date. Current trends reveal an increased popularity and preference for the design in men’s fashion. Neckties, bow ties, shirts, t-shirts, pants, and coats are just but some of men’s clothing that are being designed with paisley patterns. The rich history of the patterns and their association with prosperity and plenty is said to be one of the reasons why men prefer to be in outfits with a touch of paisley. It’s classy and traditional. Perfect for any office environment.
Paisley is no doubt a major factor in fashion and design, and it could be argued that it is one of the greatest things that ever happened to the fashion industry.