The leather school | Hermes

WOMEN AND MEN

The leather school: passing on values and skills

Each year Hermès recruits more than 200 craftspeople for its leather goods division. The group has used this opportunity to welcome talents from all professional backgrounds. This, in turn, required the creation of less academic training programmes. The goal is for everyone to obtain a diploma.
How do you make gloves, a bag or a saddle when you learnt a different trade? At Hermès, this is achieved through the leather school. This school without a building is in fact more of a method, similar to those that have marked the history of painting. It is based on the idea of sustainable transmission of shared values and skills. Since 2011, the strong demand for leather goods has committed Hermès to increasing its production capacity. Today's reality focuses on training adults who, nine times out of ten, arrive in the leather goods workshops as absolute beginners. 
So it is a question of innovating and appealing to the five senses. Before any practical exercise, the artisan interns observe – tools, a position, a technique – think and experiment. For example, you have to close your eyes to discover pearling, a setting technique that gives a cut tack its lovely round pearl-shaped head. The musical sound of the pearler against the plaque of a bag's side strap, its regularity and its power depending on the force applied to the tool, reveals much more than lengthy explanations. Successfully crafting exceptional objects is not the only ambition. In collaboration with schools and colleges, the 50 or so trainers are committed to supporting every trainee until he or she obtains their diploma.

 


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  • Tandem, a decade of open-mindedness

    In late 2008, an artisan from the leather workshop in Sayat laid down his tools in Puy-de-Dôme to spend a week behind a counter with a sales associate at the faubourg Saint-Honoré store in Paris. It was the start of the Tandem exchanges.
     
  • Footsteps across the world collection

    Recognisable by their trademark white coats, which have earned them the nickname the Blouse Brothers, the Prudhomme brothers, Lionel and André, are supervisors at the Pantin leather workshop. But beyond their clothing, their skills honed by four decades with the house have given them the status of mentors, dispensing precious advice with a keen eye for the smallest detail. They pass on to their fellow leather craftsmen the secrets of flawless finishes and the requisites for a perfect bag.
  • The golden filets of porcelain

    Of all the arts involved in glazing ceramics, that of painting a band, or filet, onto a piece of porcelain is one of the most intricate. In the Hermès workshops in Nontron, the artisans must juggle between bowls, large vases, plates, dishes and tureens. Eight gold-filet workers maintain this know-how, decorating the pieces by hand using a liner brush saturated with gold, platinum or colour.