Rainbow Design by Fehrbellin makes custom suits for every skydiver

Fehrbellin. A subtle staccato runs through the large, bright room. Steadily, but at a dizzying pace, the machines rattle over the fabrics, which are sometimes firm, sometimes stretchy, sometimes with playful patterns that slide across the surfaces. The seamstresses hardly take their eyes off their work. Every seam in the tailored suits must fit. After all, haute couture for paratroopers is created in the factory at the Fehrbelliner airfield.

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Up to 100 individual parts that end up in the baskets of Rainbow Design seamstresses, after they have been measured and cut, must be pieced together exactly according to a quasi-construction plan. And also attach handle strips, reinforcements, embroidery or even wings in the right places. Exactly what is used also depends on the speed of the free fall and the skill of the users.

Rainbow Design from Fehrbellin is a German major player

The intensive work that has been carried out in Fehrbellin since the mid-1990s is paying off. The company is the largest manufacturer of this special type of clothing in Germany and one of the leading companies in Europe – even though it suffered from the corona crisis like many other companies.

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Take-Off CEO Margrit Nagel and head of Rainbow Design Uwe Reichert watch seamstress Anett Hecht working on a new parachute suit.

Because no or almost no jumping was possible for a long time during the pandemic, demand for the suits fell quickly, says CEO Uwe Reichert. But when orders came, there was a shortage of workers: because the schools were closed, the employees had to take care of the younger generation. And the materials were often missing due to the disrupted delivery routes worldwide. “There was a surprise every day.”

Around 1,400 overalls, jackets and trousers for leisure jumpers, but also for professional users in competitions or in the Bundeswehr left the site in the years before Corona. “At the moment it’s about 800 a year,” says the 58-year-old.

The long night of the economy in the Ruppiner Land at the Fehrbelliner Airport

On September 24 The Long Night of Economy takes place from 4pm to 9pm. Free shuttle buses bring interested parties to company locations.

16 companies in Neuruppin’s Treskow industrial park, in Fehrbellin industrial park and in Temnitzpark invite you to visit their works. The public can look behind the scenes and find out about the company and job opportunities.

The long night has been held in Ruppiner Land every two years since 2006. After a six-year break, it will take place again in 2022.

The companies Rainbow Design and Take Off offer guided tours on September 24 to discover the workshops, the production of the parachute suits and the jump operations.

Even now, the company is struggling. The increased energy prices are noticeable in production. And the material that is processed in Fehrbellin still does not get there reliably – and has become significantly more expensive.

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Rainbow Design believes that quality counts more again

In addition, many customers are saving now. “Many are not willing to spend large sums on luxury items.” And they can’t either: the Rainbow boss estimates that around half of the parachutists are not necessarily the best servants. “Our sport is thriving with the offspring, who may now be more concerned about how they will finance their training or studies.”

However, the suits haven’t exactly gotten cheaper: Rainbow Design has had to raise the prices of the skydiving suits, which start at around 500 and end in the four figures. After all, the trend of jumpers preferring clothes made in Germany is slowly returning after the Geizist-geil period – and thus the demand for Fehrbelliner products increases again, which sometimes – as equipment for the disabled – in collaboration with researchers from TU Dresden.

Skydivers land in Fehrbellin: Absolute amateurs and professionals get their money's worth at Take Off.

Skydivers land in Fehrbellin: Absolute amateurs and professionals get their money’s worth at Take Off.

And the jumping operations are also flourishing again, says Reichert. More than 20,000 jumps per year, which the partner company Take Off stands for, are now available in Fehrbellin. This makes the skydiving center one of the largest in Germany. And it also offers maintenance of the parachutes, which must be inspected once a year. “It’s a kind of Tüv office for parachute systems.” Probably the biggest in Brandenburg.

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Employee Vit Zurek from the company Take Off in Fehrbellin waits for parachutes.  Every move counts.

Employee Vit Zurek from the company Take Off in Fehrbellin waits for parachutes. Every move counts.

The team of three at the airfield, which has ten permanent employees and works with up to 15 freelancers, also has a company: the Air Lift company, which operates the company’s own planes. “These three disciplines complement and support each other strongly,” explains Reichert, who is Air Lift’s flight operations manager and also flies the aircraft. “The fact that we can offer the entire portfolio is unique in Germany.”

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