THEY are among the most famous Scottish textile brands in the world. Now talks are under way between Harris Tweed and Paisley Pattern to find a way to strengthen the largely unknown historical links between the two and to help the town protect and develop the pattern.

As part of its bid to become UK City of Culture 2021, new bespoke licensing agreements are being developed for high-end global fashion companies who want to use the Paisley Pattern in their designs.

A new “Made in Paisley” certification marque is being developed with the help of Harris Tweed Hebrides for products made by new designers and creatives who base themselves in the town.

Paisley has strong historic links to Harris Tweed. In the 19th century Lady Dunmore, widow of the local laird, sent two sisters from Harris to the town to learn how to weave and use the looms and to learn from the Paisley weavers’ expertise. The sisters, Catherine and Marion Macleod, are credited with making the first Harris Tweed cloth using techniques learned in Paisley.

Harris Tweed is protected from imitations by a 1993 Act of Parliament, which means only cloth dyed, spun and woven by islanders in the Outer Hebrides can receive the famous Orb seal.

By contrast Paisley Pattern, the teardrop design borrowed from Kashmir and which features on shawls woven in Paisley during the 18th and 19th centuries and exported across the world, is not patented.

However, Paisley Museum holds the world’s largest collection of 1,200 original shawls using the teardrop and Renfrewshire Council is looking to claim ownership of its sizeable collection of original patterns and sample books, which it holds in trust for the people of Paisley.

David Amos, head of policy and procurement at Renfrewshire Council, said: “We can’t replicate the Act of Parliament enjoyed by Harris Tweed, but we have been seeking advice from Harris Tweed Hebrides and from the Harris Tweed Authority about how we can best protect and exploit the famous Paisley Pattern for the benefit of the town.” It’s recognised around the world, but its historical connection with the town is not so well known.

George Adam, Paisley MSP, said: “The idea of licensing the Paisley patterns produced by manufactures in Paisley’s past is very interesting. There are a number of Paisley shawls which are noted as having national significance in Paisley museum. These patterns could be subject to some form of protection.