The Captivating History of Liberty
We're sifting through the history books today with a look at the fascinating Liberty heritage, as well as sharing some more information on the iconic fabrics design process and Liberty's cutting edge Italy-based printing mill. It is such an honour for us to work not only with the Liberty fabrics, but also alongside the multi-talented design team to rework and create exclusives, so shining a light on the history and the incredible work they do is a true pleasure.
THE LIBERTY HERITAGE
In 1875, Arthur Lasenby Liberty, borrowed £2,000 from his future father-in-law and took a building on Regent Street, London with just three dedicated staff and plenty of ambition. He had a dream to dock a ship in the city streets and create an emporium laden with luxuries and fabrics from distant lands. His adventurous spirit did not stop there and shortly after opening Arthur Liberty printed the very first Liberty fabrics. By the 1890s, Liberty Fabrics was breaking boundaries with textile design and creation and over 100 years later, Liberty is still synonymous with cutting edge design, with a 45,000 design strong archive all housed within it’s iconic and magnificent Great Marlborough Street store.
THE DESIGN STUDIO
Liberty fabrics have paved the way in design and decorative arts since the late 1800s and the design studio is the beating heart of Liberty fabrics which keeps this innovation alive. Connected to the iconic Liberty store by a wooden bridge, it’s a place where distinctive prints are conceptualised and hand-drawn, old favourites are revisited and recoloured and exciting collaborations are born. The unparalleled creative team based at the design studio create over 250 unique fabric designs each year and are experts at creating artwork that has balance, flow and rhythm.
As well as the creative processes, the design studio is also home to archivists who ensure each and every new artwork and print is catalogued appropriately within the print archive. This national treasure and library of art means the team can find prints which were created in the early 1900s and take elements of them, redraw, rescale and give them a new energy. Today, the archive encompasses well over 45,000 designs, including a handful of Coco & Wolf exclusives!
THE PRINTING MILL
Liberty began printing their own designs well over a century ago, and as pioneers of fabric innovation it will come as no surprise that they have their own mill at the heart of the European textile industry in Lake Como. The specialist team and skilled technologists based at the printing mill print and finish millions of metres of fabric each year, across bases such as linen, silk and Liberty’s signature Tana Lawn cotton.
Each of the studio’s painterly and photographic designs is printed using cutting edge digital printing technologies alongside age-old traditional screen printing methods. All go through an entirely bespoke process, evolved over a century to ensure the most exquisite, inimitable finish with striking colour vibrancy.
We told you it was truly captivating. We are incredibly proud to work so closely with Liberty and be a part of their ongoing legacy. If you'd like to hear more about the history behind a particular print or any other element of the brand then please do let us know and we'll do our very best to make it happen.