Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Playing with Paisley (Article)

Paisley Print Scarves

Paisley Print scarves have sprouted out for this seasons trend. An enhanced floral pattern engrossed with historical yin-yang shapes, the print no longer is stuck to interior furnishings. Paisley print is among the 60-70’s psycadellic trend, currently taking place within the realms of street style. Many of these items yell exotic styling, which brings the question. Is it wearable for the intermediate season?

Some may call it “old-fashioned” whilst designers have incorporated the print into their collections; Londoners are already seen wearing paisley print in the form of a scarf. A commuter was wearing a predominantly pink paisley print scarf on the central line. She said “It was a present bought from Jordan, it’s usually cold at night, but very hot during the day. He has one that’s green, so it could be worn for both men and women.” This print is a stylish accessory for all seasons.

It was seen in spring/summer 2014, but goes way back before couture houses. Paisley originated in the realms of Asia, in Kashmir and India, during the early 18th century. It was common that Europe participated in exportation and eventually led the boldly constructed fabric to western society. They were first called Paisley Shawls. As those with high significance such as emperors, duchesses wore them wrapped around their bodies.  Later on, designers experimented with colour and patterns, resulting in various versions of paisley print. At first the patterns were very effortless and natural, but as the years went by, they became rigid and structured. These designs were made to suit the financial and communal society of the 18th century. Leimomi Oakes, a textile historian and blogger of The Dreamstress says, “When cashmere shawls were first brought to the west they were a status symbol, and worked well with the simple, linear neoclassical fashions.”

The print didn’t return to fashion until the 1960’s. Young people, then known as “Hippies” wore them to portray their act of insurgence. Which creates emphasis to the bohemian trend currently taken on in street style. Used in order to make them stand out from the older generation.  It was also a cultural expression; Africans adopted the paisley print in their attire, becoming popular among black communities and gangs. 

A print of this nature is usually located in markets or corner stands such as Portobello Road or Old Spitalfields. Scarf stall owner, Manzoori who was wearing a paisley print scarf says, “I like the style, it’s a nice style and its rather classic.” These are great places to bargain hunt for that vintage outfit especially for teens and students.  Due to the 60’s reoccurrence of paisley, people are more experimental with this trend as it provides a stroke of nostalgia. The print connotes youth rebellion; your typical sex, drugs and rock and roll era.

Alexandra Warwick, a retail and wholesales manager of Appletree Boutique in Portobello Road Market, feels that Paisley is a playful but stylish trend. She says, “Our main customers are young women looking to stay on trend but with their own, individual take on the current fashion. Paisley prints are now synonymous with the vintage look.” Many of the items sold in Appletree Boutique range from £5 – £29, alongside many stands in Portobello Road Market selling for £20 or more.

Opali Lama who has been a Shop assistant to a scarf shop for 3 years says, “The shops quality is mostly on fixed prices, sometimes we do have sales, but it depends, most people like to spend £20 on gloves, some are okay with spending £100 on a jumper.”
Thanks to celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens, Sienna Miller and Nicole Richie, Paisley print has been modernised with “Boho-chic”; a look that is influenced from the 60’s with an added 90’s flair. With festival events like “Coachella” around the corner, the bohemian look will definitely make an appearance on and off stage.In retail store, New Look, they have included paisley print scarves in the “California Dreamin” and the “Grunge” trend. Which is accessible online and in store. Naz, who has been working in New Look for 7 and half months, says, “ I like how they come in different shapes. We basically try to merchandise it into what customers can wear it with. Be it formal or casual.” 

Within Anna Sui’s collection spring/summer 2014 collection, she incorporates many historical references. Through this paisley print has made its way into her designs.
 Using the Pre-Raphaelites as inspiration, she creates a romantic, Victorian design with a modern twist. Including attire such as feathered headpieces, gladiator sandals, kimonos and fringes.  As Tim Blanks says when he reported the show on Style.com, “you might have assumed you were seeing a parade of the haute-est hippie chic”.
Anna Sui S/S 2014
Paisley print is ecstatic but the toning it down to an accessory like the scarf, has benefited those with contemporary style. The scarf can be worn in various ways; many wear paisley print scarfs with simplistic, effortless styling. The scarf is seen worn with attire of similar colour.  The main key here is to keep everything simple. As Mother Nature enjoys playing tricks on us Brits, the scarf will offer a mix of efficiency and elegance in regards to the weather. Wearing it as a scarf, how you tie is your choice “The pretzel Knot”, “The pull through”. If you don’t have a preference, look online and search how – to’s on tying a scarf.  Pair the scarf with a sweater of the same hue and basic skinny jeans. This therefore creates that effortless but easily fashionable outfit. Layer with an anorak for casual days or a trench coat and pant suit for the office.

 Once spring has arrived, the scarf can serve as a shawl or a wrap, paired with a blouse, a   T-shirt and boyfriend jeans. Accessorise with ankle boots. Outfits like these will allow the adventurous print to do most of the work and not result in over the top styling. And also manages to modernise the print, whilst still in keeping with the vintage, kitschy look.  

Paisley Print scarfs can always be a staple piece in ones wardrobe. Veronica, Sales assistant in Puerto Bello Road in Portobello Road Market, believes that the print will stay in the realms of fashion. “I don’t think its temporary, y’know. Because here in London, I see that most of the people, they wear things in their own style, some follow fashion, but most of the people here in London, that I see they have their own style.”

It doesn’t matter the season or your age, Paisley is a timeless classic that will be of some or major influence in the future of fashion.  Do it some justice and experiment, be it with colour or texture. Once you wear it with one outfit you’ll find that you can wear it with many.