A chevron is a pattern that is created by two diagonal lines that meet at an angle. The point that is created where the two lines meet usually points up, but it could also point down. The result is a pattern that resembles either an inverted or upright V. The word chevron was first used in English in the 14th century, although the oldest evidence of the pattern being used in design dates back to 1800 B.C. Around this time, the chevron pattern was integrated into the design features found in the Palace of Knossos on Crete in what is today known as Greece.
In architecture, the word chevron was used to describe the area where the rafters of a roof met, forming an angle. The symbol became a badge of honor among heraldry to indicate the followers of the head of the clan or the ‘head of the house.’ This symbol was also awarded to a knight after he was involved in capturing one or more buildings like a castle or town – the chevron resembling the roofs of these captured structures.
In the 1800s, chevrons were sewn onto the sleeves of military uniforms with the point down. The symbol was reversed in the early 1900s. Around the same time, a classification system was implemented. This system involved different numbers of chevrons in various colors to indicate a specific rank. Textile designs featuring the chevron pattern first appeared in 1962 when Ottavio (Tai) and Rosita Missoni produced the first textile incorporating this design. While the chevron was originally only one V pattern, chevron fabric now includes numerous chevrons placed close together. The result is a pattern that resembles the Zig Zag. However, while multiple chevrons next to each other always form a Zig Zag, not all Zig Zag patterns are chevrons.
The main difference is the uniformity of each individual V in a chevron pattern. On the other hand, Zig Zag patterns could include V-shapes in various sizes with diagonal lines meeting at different angles. The pattern quickly became popular and was incorporated into designs by famous fashion houses like Chanel. Chevron patterns also featured heavily in interior design in the past and have recently made a comeback. The design is fun yet structured, making it a great accent piece to any room, whether it forms part of the floor tiles or backsplashes or adorn curtains, wallpaper, or throw pillows.