Sunbrella Smarty Swers Saluted

Allen Swers, considered by many to be the father of today's outdoor decorative fabrics business, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Apollo Awards dinner held here last month during the Summer and Casual Furniture Market.

Swers, a 29-year executive in the decorative fabrics industry, came across a sample book for awning and marine fabrics from Glen Raven in 1982. He saw the potential for decorative fabrics of solution dyed acrylic fibers with a five-year warranty in a market that then only used vinyl and woven PVC for outdoor furniture. A meeting with Glen Raven executives in 1982 led to the development of Sunbrella fabrics, now used from the mainstream to high-end decorator market for both outdoor and indoor uses, and in fabrics designed for window coverings to furniture.

As Swers recalls, he and his wife Renee designed stripes to correlate with the Glen Raven solids at the 1983 Casual Furniture Market, and he and his son Arthur dressed in suits made from Sunbrella “and we would smear mustard, ketchup and butter to show that the fabric could be easily cleaned …put a piece of fabric in a jar of Clorox” to show that the colors would not fade. By the mid '90s the business had exploded and now includes a full range of fabric constructions.

Swers retired in May 2004 at the age of 82.

Featured Video

  • Live From New York: Fashion Comes Across the Pond

    Camera Icon More Videos

Subscribe to
Home & Textiles Today eDaily
Receive the news you need to know about the trends in the industry delivered right to your inbox.


HTT Cover October 2017

See the October 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we look at the Top 25 Online Retailers.  H&TT's exclusive annual ranking of the biggest online sellers of home textiles finds that while pure play etailers continue to fly, bricks & clicks are digging into omnichannel. See details!