Paisley could be reborn as a textile hub under ambitious plans to capitalise on the town’s links with the Pattern which bears its name.
While the Pattern remains a globally-recognised icon, awareness and use of Paisley’s status as the town which sold it to the world has faded, meaning the area only receives limited benefit from the historic link.
However with wide-ranging proposals to transform the town’s future using culture and heritage – including the bid for UK City of Culture 2021 – currently well advanced, council bosses believe there is vast potential to be tapped into.
Members of Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board will this week be asked to approve the development of a detailed business case pulling together various strands of work through which the town’s use of the Pattern could be developed.
The innovative and far-reaching ideas set to be explored include:
– a new marketing strategy to re-establish awareness of the links between Paisley and the Pattern, running alongside the £56.7m plans to turn Paisley Museum into an international-class visitor destination based around the town’s unique textile heritage;
– to explore the creation of a new body to promote and protect use of the Paisley Pattern around the world, similar to the successful Harris Tweed Authority;
– to examine how the ‘Paisley Originals’ trademark held by the council could be developed into an exclusive brand and monetised, if used alongside the original patterns held at Paisley Museum;
– to create links with designers, entrepreneurs and further education providers to support new contemporary fashion activity using the Pattern here in Paisley
– should the commercial opportunities above be progressed, to examine how to use them to create new design and production jobs in the town.
If given the green light by councillors, staff will look into bringing on board appropriate experts to advise them on how to take forward the work detailed above.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Very few places can claim a global brand with such enduring popularity bearing their name – we are one of them.
“Yet the weaving industry has gone and Renfrewshire does not currently enjoy much direct benefit from the link to the Pattern – so it’s about time we tried to change that.
“The work we are scoping out here remains very much at the idea stage, but is all about using the town’s unique history to create new opportunities for the 21st century.
“We don’t have to look outwith Scotland to find a heritage textile brand succesfully reclaimed by the area which created it – the reborn Harris Tweed industry is worth millions to the local economy each year and maybe we could follow suit.
“Of course none of this work would be taking place in isolation – it’s all part of a much bigger push to use heritage and culture to transform Renfrewshire’s future.
“The UK City of Culture 2021 will feature our unique historic story weaved through its very heart, while plans continue to revamp Paisley Museum into a thriving destination with our internationally-significant textile collections at the centre.
“If these ideas are to come to fruition it will of course take time – but exciting opportunities lie ahead and I want Renfrewshire to be ready to grab them.”