Quality, Character, Tradition, Authenticity define a style that in the past 20 years has shaped an established niche in the fashion industry. Sustainable textiles and materials, traditional manufacturing techniques, a close cultural and geographical link between design and production, passion and love for the process and the people involved, are principles that stand behind the philosophy this niche promotes.
And Merz b. Schwanen is a well-known name in this industry.
100% German fashion brand, from design to production, Merz b. Schwanen is about partnership, focus on quality in all aspects and integrating tradition in the contemporary. It has a story. A unique tubular knitting. And a portfolio of contemporary designs that evoque legendary styles of the past century.
Partners both at home and in business, Gitta and Peter Plotnicki built together a family and a fashion brand. Isn’t this something so many of us dream of? To me they are an inspiration.
I was lucky to be part of their team in Berlin and I see how in many ways Merz b. Schwanen is a reflection of their lifestyle.
To get a better feel of the brand, I wanted you to meet them too. In a bit more personal way.
Do you believe in destiny?
Gitta Plotnicki: This is a very philosophic question right at the beginning…I believe in something. I think things don’t happen by accident in life. You are living an experience at a given time because that is the right time and there is a purpose. In German we call this Vorsehung – Providence.
Peter Plotnicki: Yes. I believe.
What is Merz b. Schwanen to you?
Gitta Plotnicki: It’s Peter’s dream come true. I know it and I feel it. And it makes him happy so it makes me happy. To us it’s an opportunity to do what we really love. Using good quality materials to make products that last. Products that live. It’s about appreciating the good moments in life. And sharing them with quality people. There is something about Merz b. Schwanen that attracts the right people: whether it’s the people that we work with, the ones we talk to at the fashion shows, retailers, private customers and collaborators – our interactions are enriching and inspiring.
Peter Plotnicki: My life project.
What is your mantra? A belief that guides you in life every day;
Gitta Plotnicki: Whenever I see a heart or I think of a heart I say “Thank you” for everything that happens in my life. I say it in the morning when I wake up. I say it when I go to bed. This empowers me.
Peter Plotnicki: Maybe I have many mantras but definitely I believe that one must always go forward. Never stop. You set goals, you reach them and that is good, but don’t stop there. Keep going.
This is about Peter. You are partners at home and professionally. You really do share all the good moments in life. Describe Peter in 3 words.
Gitta Plotnicki: This reminds me very much of our wedding. When they made us stand back-to-back and answer questions about each other.
- Super warm-hearted
This is more than 3 words…
And tell us: is Peter a different Peter at home than at work?
Gitta Plotnicki: Peter is the same in private life like he is in business. He is a as focused when he makes dumplings as when he makes production files.
Monica: This is my favourite answer! Captures it all.
And tell us: is Gitta a different Gitta at home than at work?
Peter Plotnicki: Not really. The main point is that we act as we are. Gitta’s beliefs are the same at work and at home. Working together came after having become a couple. It happened by accident that we realized we can also work together (we could say it was destiny!).
What is the Merz b. Schwanen style?
Gitta Plotnicki: First of all Merz is a basic. But people who are attracted to Merz feel it’s something more to it. It’s like putting on a symbol. Merz is a philosophy and a lifestyle. It’s about appreciating the material, the work that stands behind it, the people. And appreciating yourself because you are worth it! It’s a circle that comes back to you. A circle of appreciation. And I am very grateful I can be part of this circle. I think this is also the reason why we meet so many wonderful people in our work. These absolutely amazing co-workers and collaborators that help us make it happen. It begins with the people in the office here in Berlin, the people in the production, all small family businesses, and the customers who trust us and have faith in us. They all share the good with us.
Peter Plotnicki: It’s a lot of my personality but I wouldn’t say Merz has a particular style. The most important thing for me is that the garment supports your personality. That you can find what is good for you. Merz is truly about the personality of the wearer. You can wear it with a Comme des Garçons suit but also with raw denim and biker boots. I also believe there is a very good energy in our products. I think it’s because everyone who is involved, from the people here at the office to the people in the production, they all LOVE what they do. And I believe 100% that there is a lot of positive energy from the old loop wheelers we use. It’s history, tradition that was brought back to life. It’s not fast fashion, fast living, fast consuming. It’s the opposite.
You have to read the whole story of the legendary loop wheelers hidden in the Swabian Alps and the accidental discovery that was going to revive the Merz b. Schwanen legacy: merz-schwanen.com/en/history/
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Text & Interview: MONICA BOȚA MOISIN
Photos: Merz b. Schwanen Archive