At Fast Mask, some of our most popular face masks and motorcycle gloves are those with a paisley print. It’s a timeless design that you’ll find almost everywhere, from your grandma’s curtains to your teenager’s necktie. Why is it so popular and where did it originate?
A Few Theories of Origination
Paisley wasn’t first found on a western cowboy’s bandana in the 1860s. It dates back hundreds to thousands of years before you’d find it on the neck of a cowboy. There are a few theories of origination:
- It’s thought that in 1700 BC, Ancient Babylon used the paisley symbol. It could possibly have come from Yazd, Iran, which is presently where Ancient Babylon once was. Yazd people weaved silk and wool into fabric called “termeh.” The pattern included paisley.
- Another theory comes from Persia from the years 200-650 AD. Referred to as “boteh,” paisley was a common symbol used by the Sassanians. This theory is what gave the paisley shape a nickname of “Persian pickle” in modern times. In Azerbaijan, this shape is still the national symbol today.
- Found on archaeological discoveries in Britain, paisley has another theory that puts it on highly decorated metal objects, possibly between the years 50 BC and 50 AD. This was before the Roman empire prevailed, making the paisley print a primarily Celtic pattern.
Some World-Wide Connections
You may have your own ideas of where paisley is most common, but it has connections all over the place. While you might consider it a stylish design for your face mask or could have paisley motorcycle gloves as a part of your regular riding wardrobe, it shows up all around the world:
- Beginning in the 1800s, The East India Company made intricate shawls with the paisley design. Sent worldwide, some shawls depicted elephants and other recognizable patterns, but the most sought-after designs were in paisley print. Middle Eastern customers were particularly fond of these designs, while European customers had to gradually get used to it.
- The name “paisley” wasn’t the design’s name all along. In Paisley, Scotland, around the year 1805, production of shawls with this pattern began to boom. They became quite popular and peaked around 1850, making the name stick. Though we consider the pattern as “paisley” here in the west, it has different references around the world, such as “palme” in France, “botar” in India, “bota” in the Netherlands and “peizuli” in Japan.
- Britain was one of the first countries to put a copyright on something from the creative field. Paisley copyrights are known as far back as the 1840s.
Paisley Patterns Today
There was a time period in which paisley sort of died down as far as fashion goes, but in the 1960s, it fervently picked up again. It really hasn’t slowed down since then. Some specific times it has been a talked-about fashion piece include:
- At the 2010 Winter Olympics. The two-person Azerbaijan team sported paisley in graphic colours on their trousers.
- Pretty Green, a clothing label, was launched in 2009, being named as “Menswear Brand of the Year” in 2010. Shoes, polos and shirts of the Pretty Green line are often found with paisley prints and liners.
- Massimo often features paisley print, with a large selection of garments in their 2014 spring and summer collection.
- A luxury brand, Pringle of Scotland, uses paisley, with a wide array of paisley prints in their 2017 autumn and winter collection.
And of course, here at Fast Mask, we just think paisley is plain awesome. Our paisley motorcycle gloves come in a variety of colours, but you can also personalize yours with a colour combo of your choosing. Contact us today to learn more or to get started with your paisley print motorcycle gloves.