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The lightweight yet durable fabric together with the cool print and relaxed fit is perfect for sports and enhances both your performance and your look.
About the history of Merz B. Schwanen
THE "ACCIDENTAL" FIND
Soft, already slightly washed-out, natural-coloured cotton fabric, old, partly worn, fabric-covered underwear buttons and a cuff knitted with different sizes of stitches - Peter Plotnicki had never seen anything like it before. "I was immediately fascinated by the unusual triangular inserts under the arm and the carefully woven textile label with a lettering made of the finest viscose yarn. And, to complete the whole thing, there were no side seams.
THE JOURNEY TO THE ORIGIN
Moved by this tragic and at the same time regionally typical company fate, Peter Plotnicki travels to the Swabian Alb and gets to know Rudolf Loder, a textile manufacturer still active there. He surprises him with a room full of original circular knitting machines from the time between 1920 and 1960 - unused and covered by a thick layer of dust, but unscathed. Loder, a textile expert with heart and soul: "Peter's idea to revive the machines and to produce ROUND KNITTINGS on them again and yet in a very traditional style immediately inspired me. Together they set to work and do their utmost to make their vision come true.
THE "MERZ B. SWANS" FAMILY
Plotnicki's wife and business partner Gitta Plotnicki is also immediately convinced and supports the ambitious project from the beginning. A lot of calmness, confidence and patience are required: it takes about a year to repair the completely mechanical machines and get them back to work. While Peter Plotnicki works on the development of the first collection, Rudolf Loder persistently tinkers with his old machines. The challenge of finding people who still know how to operate these gems of mechanics is also mastered by the two of them unwaveringly. For word of the ambitious and unusual project quickly spread throughout the Alb - Balthasar Merz's descendants in particular are taken with this entrepreneurial vision. They offer Plotnicki their brand name "Merz b. Schwanen": "I was overwhelmed, suddenly we held almost 100 years of company history in our hands. One could hardly wish for more support than drive."
THE TRADITION LIVES ON
The addition to the name "Swan", around whose origin many stories are still entwined today, not only stands for special grace and aesthetics. Swans are also symbols for an end, which is followed by a new beginning. In January 2011, just in time for the company's anniversary, "Merz b. Schwanen" will present its first new collection at the international textile fair Bread & Butter in Berlin. The success and approval of the idea of using original workers' underwear from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s as inspiration and model to combine it with contemporary design is overwhelming. Gitta & Peter Plotnicki: "This is how we continue the history of "Merz b. Schwanen": with modern styles and new material compositions - constantly developed and carefully combined with the original origins.
About the Philisophy
Good moments, good things - they exist. And we all know them. But what makes a moment or a thing good for us? Isn't it usually people who make it possible? An inspiring conversation, a lovingly prepared meal or a textile made with passion - we feel immediately when something is created with honest appreciation. We are happy to be part of it and to share this special moment. We at Merz b. Schwanen are also grateful to be part of this loving give and take. Because we firmly believe that there should be things that make us feel good for each other, that make us feel good all around. Therefore, every Merz b. Schwanen textile not only contains natural materials and first-class craftsmanship, but above all true passion of all involved. This is visible, this is tangible. And even if it is not a garment for eternity, it is a faithful companion for many good moments.
About the quality
OUT OF PASSION FOR MAN AND MACHINE
When entering the approx. 300 m² large factory floor some of the old wooden floorboards creak under the step of Rudolf Loder. A pleasant whirring, almost resembling a simple melody, is audible. Thick old wooden disks turn on the ceiling, connected to each other by old leather straps about 5 cm wide. These lead to the only transmission motor that keeps everything running here. Light falls through the windows and lets the patina of the metal of 31 original circular knitting machines shimmer. There they stand, preserved in their original environment - the youngest from the 1960s and the oldest splendour among them from 1920.
Almost forgotten, dusty and out of service since the late 1960s, they have been waiting all these decades to be used again. Today
THE MAGIC OF THE CIRCULAR KNITTING MACHINE
Each machine is equipped with over 1,000 small needles, formerly still handmade, sitting harmoniously side by side, acting one row after the other on the thread coming from the bobbin. This is done with a contemplative calm, as many of us often long for in our everyday lives and professions.
Machine specific small irregularities in the knitted fabric give it its very characteristic texture. And since every top is to be produced without a side seam, there is a circular knitting machine with the appropriate diameter for every size of garment. The pleasant uniqueness of the materials produced in this way can be felt from the very first wear.
All production processes at Merz b. Schwanen are carried out in Germany. From the sewing of all textiles in independent clothing factories in the Swabian Alb to the weaving of the woven labels, which are traditionally produced on a 19th century Jacquard loom - even the boxes in which each shirt is individually packaged are made by a family business following the original model. This process chain, which is geared towards preserving old craftsmanship, makes every Merz b. Schwanen textile something very special - full of true passion and appreciation for all the people involved.
"We also use the best organic cotton from certified suppliers in Europe. The materials are left in their natural state, making the textiles particularly skin-friendly and environmentally friendly," explains Peter Plotnicki, who is very concerned about sustainability.
Rudolf Loder and Peter Plotnicki are enthusiastic: "It is the tangible and visible quality, based on many years of experience and careful workmanship, that makes Merz b. Schwanen a valuable, because uncopyable, original.
TEXTILE HISTORY OF THE SWABIAN ALB
Securing their livelihood in the harsh climate of the Swabian Alb became increasingly difficult for the farmers of the 19th century - the already barren soils leached out, farming proved unprofitable, and the farmers and their families suffered from poverty and hunger. Famous for their hard work, the Swabians did not give up, but shifted to sheep breeding. Even in mountainous areas that were difficult to cultivate, their animals brought in the vital yield. The wool could be used to knit stockings, which proved to be an ideal source of sideline income and formed the basis for the industrialisation of the textile industry which began in 1850.