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It is fascinating how many words in the design world come from India. Terms such as chintz, calico, dungaree, gingham, khaki, madras, pajama, sash, seersucker, and shawl all originate from India. This strong influence of Indian inspired designs stem from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries when India was a main exporter of textiles throughout the Western world.
Chintz, a cotton fabric with a large scale floral motif was among the most valued Indian fabric. Originally hand painted and color fast, it was used for both apparel and home furnishing fabrics. The name derives from "chitte," meaning speckled cloth. European traders in the late 16th Century first brought this brightly colored fabric back home. The stately homes in England were decorated with chintz fabrics and this popular decoration became associated with English interior designs.
Resembling a twisted teardrop, kidney shaped paisley designs originated in India as fabric for shawls. The Indian name "boteh" was replaced with "Paisley" when the designs were replicated and redesigned in Paisley, Scotland where they could be produced by machine less expensively. Today, however, the production costs have gone full circle and are once again produced mainly in India and East Asia.
Embroidered textiles have always been a quality commodity from India. Originating as a cheaper version of hand painted textiles, these magnificent fabrics have had long and far reaching effects. There is currently a trend towards durable embroidered fabrics in the home furnishings world and countless patterns are now available.