There are multiple different origin stories of buffalo plaid or buffalo check, depending on who you ask. One of the most commonly known whereabouts is from Woolrich. Woolrich Woolen Mills dubbs themselves as the "Original Outdoor Clothing Company," and dates back to the 1830s. Their proclaimed Original Outdoor tagline doesn't stray far from the truth considering they outfitted many of the US Soldiers throughout the country's (and world's) major historical moments. Woolrich's Buffalo Plaid came as a way to define Woolrich's offering in an already saturated flannel market. At the time, a designer of the business paired together large checks with bold colors and just like that, Buffalo Check was born. It is said that the designer himself had a herd of beloved Buffalo-- thus providing a muse for the iconic name.
Other sources say that the roots of the design stem from the 18th century and Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III. It is believed that she loved the ‘check’ pattern and wanted it on all sorts of pieces of furniture and around their home. Due to this it also is sometimes known as Queen Charlotte’s check. You would be hard-pressed to find the bright red and black that is so apparent today during the Queen's reign. Back then, the plaid was mostly white mixed with lighter colors stemming from all-natural dyes.