merz b. schwanen longjohn

Making Timeless Classics Over 100 Years

The Merz b. Schwanen brand is offering timeless, sustainable, and well-considered garments for women and men. They believe that good products can endure decades and will bring people joy and ease for a long time. And that’s exactly what Gitta and Peter Plotnicki are doing when they brought new life to the brand in 2011, which has a history of over 100 years already. This year, the Merz b. Schwanen brand celebrates it’s 111 years anniversary.

Merz b. Schwanen

Merz b. Schwanen

The Cornerstone Of The Brand

The Berlin-based brand Merz b. Schwanen is producing basics, but simply good basics that differentiate with smart design details that stand out. They focus on all-time favorite styles that can be worn all year round. Styles that can be worn on any occasion and make you look good to celebrate the good moments in life.

Within the Merz b. Schwanen collection, a wide range of t-shirts, henleys, sweatshirts, tanks, knitwear, and accessories are offered. They’re specialists when it comes to producing unique fabrics on rare 100-year-old loop wheelers in Germany, for an authentic vintage appearance.

Next to that, Merz b. Schwanen is also developing new styles with contemporary looks and feel. All are crafted and made of high-quality sustainable materials that fit the brand’s DNA.

Merz b. Schwanen

The Roots Of The Merz b. Schwanen Brand

The origin of the Merz b. Schwanen brand goes back to 1911. It was Balthasar Merz that started running the textile manufactory on the Swabian Alb in Germany. These days, Gitta and Peter Plotnicki, life- and business partners based in Berlin, Germany, re-established the brand after the descendants of the founder had shut down the production.

It all started when they found an over-90-year-old henley of the former brand at a flea market in Berlin. They were instantly fascinated by the triangular inserts under the arms and the intricate label with its lettering made with fine viscose thread. And on top of that, it had no sideseams.

As they’re both fashion designers and Peter is also a professional men’s tailor, they knew instantly that this flea market find was a very special piece. Their passion for authentic clothing and their vision to revive the traditional way of textile production, combined with a modern sustainable approach, lead them to the Swabian Alb.

It took the couple a whole year to restore the complex mechanical machines. It still is a particular challenge to find skilled people to operate these old machines, but they managed to get them up and running again and started to reproduce quality made garments in Germany again.

‘’We are continuing the story of Merz b. Schwanen by combining authentic with contemporary designs, made of sustainable fabric blends, all created with respect to the brand’s heritage,” says Gitta Plotnicki.

merz b schwanen

Peter and Gitta Plotnicki.

Merz b. Schwanen

Merz b. Schwanen

The Loopwheeler Made Items

One of the key styles within the Merz b. Schwanen collection are their high-quality made sweaters. They’re produced on original Loopwheeler machines. The newest machine in the production facility was built in the 1960s while the oldest machine dates back to 1889.

Every Loopwheeler machine is fitted with over a thousand needles. In the old days, every needle was made by hand. They are assembled in a row, knitting the thread row for row as it spools down. This happens in a gentle and calm, productive atmosphere, a feeling many of us wish to have in their job and daily routine.

Every garment is produced without a lateral seam, there is a fitting circular knitting machine for every size. This means that these Loopwheeler made items can twist with washing and will stay in shape.

Also, the Loopwheeler machines are reliable, but not perfect. The small irregularities within the fabric are an essential part of the characteristic look and feel of the garments.

Merz b. Schwanen

Merz b. Schwanen

The Authentic V-Insert Details At The Sweaters

All the Merz b. Schwanen sweaters feature the iconic V-insert on the front, and with a reason. Exactly, there are two reasons why this design element is used on their sweaters. This ribbed fabric, the same you can find at the sleeves and the hem, allows the wearer to take off their sweater more easily. Next to that, it also keeps the sweater in shape!

Another reason why this classic detail is attached is that it also absorbs sweat while wearing it during a workout. Keep in mind that sweaters were made to use during exercise in the first place, so to keep the design as close to the originals, the V-insert can’t be missed.

Merz b. Schwanen

What About The Logo Of The Brand

The swan in the logo of the Merz b. Schwanen brand is a symbol of energy, pureness, and freedom. Moreover, it represents an end followed by a good new beginning.

Merz b. Schwanen

The Authentic Packaging

Each Merz b. Schwanen style comes with a special authentic packaging as protection. This refers to the history of the brand as they were packed exactly the same as nowadays. The packaging is made by a family business following the original design.

Merz b. Schwanen

Merz b. Schwanen

Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.