Over this fall semester, I have covered a lot of Fashionistos wearing prints. I especially did a lot of tribal influenced prints and more wild patterns. I spotted this Fashionisto and loved his paisley button-up. I find myself drawn to purple colors as well so that just solidified that I would feature this Fashionisto. The paisley got me thinking — paisley has been a well-known design for a while, but how long exactly?
The paisley design has been influenced by many cultures but came to the west through trade in cashmere goods from the Vale of Kashmir to India and then to Europe. Paisley was the design's western name, which comes from the town of Paisley in Scotland (quite the cultural design!) In Persian, the design is known as Boteh Jegheh. Some design scholars call the shape Boteh and believe it dates back as a symbol of life and eternity in Zoroastrian, a Persian religion. The design was used to decorate royal crowns and court garments and later the general population. The design drifted from textiles for clothing to architecture as well. The paisley design first made it’s way to the west in the late 18th century.
As if the origins of this design weren’t compelling enough, my mind was blown when I was researched it as a modern and contemporary design. Today, paisley has many more connotations than the masses know. Paisley was very popular and identified with psychedelic style and also interest in Indian spirituality during the late '60s. The Beatles and their pilgrimage to India also heavily influenced this in 1968. John Lennon is wearing a paisley shirt very similar to the shirt this Fashionisto is rocking. Fender guitars began sticking paisley wallpaper onto the guitar bodies, like this Fender Paisley Original from 1968. Prince even wrote a song called Paisley Park in 1985 and then dedicated his recording label to the rock and roll history of paisley, creating Paisley Park Records.
Fashionistos, there is something truly beautiful and deeply rooted in the culture and history of the things that we wear every day, so seek them out.
HIint: My hint of the week isn’t even to wear paisley. The message and hint of the week is to find yourself searching for the history of clothes, whether it be historic origins of a specific design or finding out who manufactured the sweater you got at the thrift store. But really, wear paisley button-ups because they are glorious. Stay groovy.