Last week at Pitti Uomo, I went to visit Gitta and Peter Plotnicki of Merz B. Schwanen to talk about knitwear, manufacturing, and romantic things like replicating vintage textiles. They have delved deep into manufacturing superior quality basics that speak to history and provenance. Looking at their fine textiles, I am reminded why we should return to things that are made to last, and why we should wear things because we like them, rather than because of current trends. After all, we live in a post-trend world where fashion isn’t so much dictated by the ‘flavour of the season’ so to speak, but how we can be individuals in our big bad internet-run world.
When it comes to basics like the classic tee, I believe it’s best to find something that feels right the minute you pick it up. It must have weight like a good partner who will take care of you, solid. It should fit you in the right way, because no one universal cut will flatter every shape and size. Last but not least, you should stock up once you find your t-shirt true love, because it will keep you in a sweet spot of style goodness for the rest of your days.
The Plotnickis are romantics. They make their garments on circular knitting looms which produce cylindrical lengths of knit, minutely irregular in texture and ultimately unique in nature. This type of machine was offered to poor German farmers who could no longer make a living off the land during the industrial revolution, a boom that had magnificent impact on the textile industry in particular. These dinosaurs have been given a second life to revive us once more, refreshing the ephemeral nature of the garment industry with objects that represent long-lasting style.
10 Questions with Gitta Plotnicki at Pitti Uomo.
1. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Green juice from spinach, lime, apple, and celery. There is a little cafe near our flat that make vegan things like juices and soy coffee.
2. What do you usually smell like?
I always have one single perfume, nothing else. It was specially made for Colette by Le Labo.
3. Where would you escape to during a zombie apocalypse?
I would escape into the forest where I can go hiking everyday. I would take my son and my husband with me, that’s very important.
4. What’s the best thing about what you’re wearing today?
My necklace, I bought it in Korea at a Buddhist temple and I believe in talismans so I really like it.
5. Tea or Coffee? Coffee
6. Winter or Summer? Summer
7. What’s the most special vintage piece you own? An old one which is an inspiration piece for our line. It’s a button-facing shirt like this [she points me to a long sleeved knit with cloth bound buttons running down the neck].
8. What is your ultimate jacket button made of?
The button is made out of horn.
*9. What would you cook for your dream man/woman?
*Vegetables!!! All green vegetables!!! In all different kinds and colours!
10. But do you even lift bro?
I have done exercise for the last 30 years… I drink too much wine! I exercise about 3-4 times a week, mainly dancing because I used to do ballet for 15 years at the theatre.