A brief history of paisley
by Charles David
The Enduring Paisley: An exotic reminder of antiquity; of kingdoms, sacred empires, dynasty & revolutions, a unique gentleman’s accessory, usually subtle in hue and tone. Notable in its elegance. Grab any psychedelic paisley and give a distinct flair to a venture capitalist or a menswear novice; a classic navy blazer with brass buttons, a simple shirt of choice; The paisley tie, no tie-bar, a perfectly washed pair of jeans; solid over-the-calf wool socks, finished off with a handsome pair of chukkas in dusty brown.
Adapted as print for men’s neckwear at the end of the 1920, paisley as a design has the unique distinction of remaining intact and true to its origins through millennia. From pre-Islam Persia, the pear or swirling pine-cone pattern image laid out, overlayed or intertwined with embellishments, found its way as a template in the weaving centers of the Silk Road, sacred places like Samarkand. Silk & cotton weavers took note in the early Chola dynasties existing in W. India and Tamil, their terrorities throughout Indonesia in the 12th century.
Coming into Kashmiri kingdoms, the native goats offered the luxury of letting their coats be woven. The effect was warm yet featherweight, an ideal partnership for fending off the chill of evenings spent abroad sumptuous summer houseboats on the mountain rimmed lake Kashmir. This featherweight, beautifully woven, jewel-toned fabric fashioned into generously sized shawls soon found favor with the colonials on post during the British Raj. Empire building fostered, timely enough, a wave of technology advancing rapidly in north England and Scotland, paisley. The industrial revolution gave this intriguing design a more manageable name than those it endured over the ages. The tradition remains, the function altered to modernity.