The Paisley pattern originated in the Safavid Dynasty of Persia during the 16th century. It is believed that the teardrop-like shape of the paisley is derived from the shape of the shoots of a young date palm - a powerful symbol of fertility in ancient Babylonia and in the Hindu religion. The paisley pattern was a major textile motif in Persia and was used to decorate royal and religious garments.
The paisley pattern was introduced into European culture by Napoleon’s officers who brought shawls with paisley pattern back to France. The pattern soon became popular in European culture and the increasing demand convinced the East India Company to start importing fabrics with paisley patterns in the beginning of the 17th century. With the invention of the Jacquard loom fabrics with paisley patterns were increasingly made in parts of Europe. From about 1800 to 1850 Scottish weavers of the town of Paisley started to create shawls with this pattern. Thus, the pattern was named after this town.
Today the paisley pattern is still commonly used in Iran and other south Asian countries. Finest fabrics such as silk and cashmere is often times combined with gold and silver threads into beautiful paisley pattern fabrics. In Europe the paisley pattern became quite popular again during the "Summer of Love". John Lennon for example had a Rolls Royce painted with the Paisley pattern, Fender started to make guitars with paisleys, and Prince started the Paisley Park recording label. In mens fashion Paisley Ties have become popular in the 60s and are still considered a classic necktie design today.