The origin of paisley is the town of Paisley, Scotland, where the pattern was originally manufactured in the early 19th century. Consisting of a distinctive pattern of feather-shaped, curved symbols, the design was originally based on a pine-cone design from India.
Paisley is derived from Iranian and Indian cultures. Some design scholars believe paisley combines a stylized floral spray and a cypress tree, which is a Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. A similar floral motif called Buteh originated in the Sassanid Dynasty from 200 to 650 CE and was a major textile pattern in Iran during the Qajar and Pahlavi Dynasties. Paisley was used as a pattern to decorate royal garments and regalia and was a popular pattern among both royalty and the general population.
Paisley is popular in Iran and South and Central Asian countries, where it is woven with gold or silver threads on high-quality textiles. It is often a symbol of luxury and is used for gifts and special occasions. In Iran and Uzbekistan, the pattern is incorporated into everything from paintings and jewelry to garden landscaping and pottery. In Uzbekistan, the most common item featuring paisley is the traditional doppi headdress.
The 1960s witnessed a spike in paisley popularity after the “Summer of Love.” This was a time of great interest in Indian spirituality and culture stemming from The Beatles' pilgrimage to India. Paisley remains popular in fashion in America and the United Kingdom.