the story behind
The RAYOS awning fabric collection, which was launched in early 2018 by swela, contains article 31201 Liberta, meaning “freedom” – a specially designed fabric with its own unique story to tell.
There were various political events occurring in the USA which were thrown into the spotlight of the media when the swela RAYOS collection was being developed: “the statutory right to withhold performance” had taken some unexpected forms in certain US states. Priests were refusing to marry people from the LGBTQ* community, and certain entrepreneurs and shopkeepers had also refused to sell goods and services to this group due to discrimination.
Dan Schmitz, managing partner of Schmitz-Werke GmbH + Co. KG and creator of the Liberta concept, took this as an opportunity to have his say on the issue. In order to do this, he went back to the drawing board with Miriam Arend, textile designer in the swela design studio, in order to put the first version of the special sun protection design onto paper, which features the rainbow flag as a symbol of pride for the LGBTQ* community.
swela stands for freedom, said Dan Schmitz: “freedom for everyone to show what they stand for and who they are. So many people, so many colours. Our slogan for RAYOS, ‘colours for all’, is not said in vain. It allows us to use our expertise in order to make the world a more colourful place. We wish to cater to everyone and are passionate about supporting the freedom that the LGBTQ* community deserves. swela has no concerns in being forthright about this belief and putting their words into action – something that we have proven in the past”.
Throughout the entire design process, the focus was constantly on the message that we wished to convey through the fabric: “dare to show what you stand for, dare to be who you are and live in freedom”, said Dan Schmitz. It is for that reason that the name ‘Liberta’ came so naturally. Four prototypes were needed to create the current design during the development process. The creator of this concept, Schmitz, went on to say: “as the image must also be effective when light is shining through the material, it was crucial to harmonise the design and positioning of the stripes as precisely as possible."
The Liberta design has been applied to and tested on the high-tech polyester fabrics swela sunvas and swela sunsilk. We ultimately made the decision to apply the design to the swela sunvas material, as the colours are brought to life by its texture so effortlessly. This is exactly the result that the development team responsible for Liberta wanted to see.
It was exciting for swela to see how the market reacted to Liberta. Accepting what the Liberta design stands for should be as natural as accepting people from all groups and inclinations. “Liberta is a design for everyone, irrespective of religion, race, skin colour or sexual orientation. The colour scheme is a subtle tribute to our support of the LGBTQ community. We do not wish to exclude anybody and want to bring people to together, rather than create divisions”, stated Schmitz with regards to swela’s intentions with the product.
*Editor’s note: LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.