STYLE GUIDE: WTF is Paisley and Where Did it Come From?


By @Melizards

From bandanas to button-ups, the paisley print has become a staple of American fabrication, and the print’s history dates back thousands of years. The New Oxford Dictionary defines paisley as “a distinctive intricate pattern of curved, feather-shaped figures based on a pine cone design.” Historians believe that the paisley symbol originated in Persia around 200-650 AD. The shape may be an adaptation of the yin-yang symbol used in ancient Chinese medicine and philosophy.

The print became westernized at the turn of the 19th century when The East India Company imported paisley shawls from Kashmir and Persia to Europe in large quantities. The name came from a town called Paisley in West Scotland, which was home to a textile center that printed paisley designs. In 19th century Britain the paisley shawl was a must-have accessory, a status symbol worn for important occasions and recorded in numerous portrait paintings. However, paisley slowly phased out of popularity as textile sales plummeted.

Paisley’s big comeback came in the 1960s when iconic artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix started rocking the pattern. The paisley design became associated with rebellion; wearing it was a statement of non-conformity and a welcome alternative to the formerly basic fashion trends. Today, many high-profile designers strut their paisley designs on the catwalks.

Most notably, paisley became the staple design of bandanas, and today it’s a print many people associate with the squares of fabric. The rise of hip-hop culture in the 90s brought bandana-style paisley print to the forefront of design, and the recent comeback of 90s style has the paisley print trending again in streetwear.

Embrace the rich roots of paisley with Karmaloop’s fresh bandana-printed gear.


What’s black and white and paisley all over? The All Over Paisley Terry Jacket in Black by Allston Outfitter.


Bring the 90s back with buckets hats and paisley…sport both trends with The Thorpe Bucket Hat in Indigo by Staple.


Paisley for the ladies, The Squadlife Bralette in Black and White by Crooks and Castles are here just in time for summer.


Extra long tees are totally on-trend right now, so rock the style with The Paisley Drop Tee in White by DFYNT.


The Week-End Pants in Black Paisley Kennedy Denim Co. feature a classic paisley print.

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