Merz B. Schwanen
Albstadt & Berlin, Germany
It is said that the soil is Albstadt has four rocks for every potato. This is why the region became famous for fabric production, rather than farming. The clothing produced was so famous that when neighboring Bavaria used to invade, they would steal the shirts off the bodies of the Swabian soldiers.
After the wars however, production dwindled. Like many industrial areas across Europe, work moved to cheaper locations across Asia and South America. But designers Peter and Gitta Plotnicki approached the Schwanen family to purchase their operation.
Today they run Merz B. Schwanen (roughly translating to ‘Mark the Swan’) and produce their own line of circular knit clothing. Shirts age with a wonderful softness and maintain a connection to a lost era of clothing design. Their work caught the attention of Monocle Magazine and Nigel Cabourn to create collaboration lines for specialty clientele.
From thread to finished product, they oversee every step in the process. Peter maintains the machines, which are finicky and need constant tuning by their resident mechanics. Otherwise, the weave will not be consistent. It is a daily balance to keep things humming, but the results are a shirt that feels like it will last 100 years.