Saint-Junien, fitting like a glove ES | Hermès

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Saint-Junien, fitting like a glove

Competition and changes in consumption patterns have caused a number of setbacks for the French glove-making industry, born in the Middle Ages in the heart of livestock-rearing regions. Almost a century old, the Ganterie de Saint-Junien, situated on the banks of the River Vienne, is the oldest glove factory in France. Acquired by Hermès in 1998, it has been given a new lease of life.
This former cooperative in central France has perpetuated glove-making know-how since 1919. It has supplied Hermès since 1981. In 1998, when the group acquired the Ganterie, it employed around 60 people, of whom half worked from home. Twenty years later, the move from a modest workshop in the town centre to a former wool-processing factory represents new momentum.
Fifty-four leather goods craftsmen have joined the fifty or so glove-makers. Since 2016, wallets have been added to the gloves manufactured according to the “Jouvin system”. A glove-maker from Grenoble, Jouvin revolutionised French glove-making, notably in 1834 with his “iron hand” shape-cutter, which remains one of the secrets of Saint-Junien gloves to this day.
 

The "iron hand"

© Christophe Mariot


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