Arts & culture

Calling all paisley fans

Scottish fashion legend Pam Hogg is on the hunt for your best paisley-patterned delights, for a new exhibition that’s part of Paisley Museum’s £42million redevelopment

Paisley is one of fashion’s bolder patterns, with its teardrop motif a signature across centuries of fashion design and more recently, everyday objects. Fashion designer Pam Hogg is leading the #ShowUsYourPaisley call-out for all of your paisley-patterned items – from clothing to cookware – to add to the newly redeveloped Paisley Museum’s collection when it reopens in 2023. The most “intriguing and unusual” submissions will be considered for a display that will also feature Pam Hogg’s Paisley Poodle Print design.

Items can be historic or contemporary, high-fashion or functional, just as long as they feature the iconic teardrop motif – and they must be submitted by the end of May.

“The paisley pattern has had a lasting impact on the world and has been endlessly reinterpreted and reinvented,” says Pam Hogg, Paisley-born designer and patron of Paisley Museum. “There are examples of paisley pattern all around us and I’d like to encourage the public to share their items and the stories of how they were acquired, used, loved and passed down.

Pam Hogg’s Paisley Poodle Print design. The outfit will be displayed as part of Paisley Museum’s collection when it reopens in 2023

Paisley’s Free Public Library and Museum opened on 11 April 1871, aiming to provide local people with the means of self-improvement inspired by the ideals of the Scottish enlightenment. In 1905, the museum held its first exhibition of Paisley shawls in recognition of the impact the textiles had had on the town’s fortunes. Many gifted these shawls to the museum permanently when the exhibition concluded, and over 115 years later the museum are asking the public to continue this tradition.

Kashmir shawls began to arrive in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, brought back by travellers and via trade routes, including with the East India Company and the Mughal Empire. Many featured the ‘boteh’, a motif in the shape of a curved droplet. By the 1800s they had become extremely fashionable and European textile centres began producing ‘imitation Indian’ shawls. Manufacturers in Paisley quickly adopted new weaving techniques and technologies including jacquard looms, allowing them to mass produce these items and become the market leaders by the 1830s. This sparked the start of the trend for referring to these shawls as ‘Paisleys’.

The pattern has continued to be a source of inspiration for leading fashion designers, including the Italian fashion house ETRO. It also began to appear on mass-produced objects from the 1960s onwards. The public have sporadically gifted these objects to the museum – from a frying pan to a roll of toilet paper donated for people’s “amusement, edification and enjoyment”. 

The public has until Sunday 30th May 2021 to submit their paisley pattern item suggestions for consideration. They should be emailed to, or shared on social media using #ShowUsYourPaisley and tagging @paisleymuseum, and include a photograph, description and story behind the object.