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.
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.
Hermès employs 13,500 men and women, including 4,500 craftspeople, who form the first métier of the house. This land of hand changes and hires nonstop. To train, pass on, develop, ensure well-being, health and solidarity… Our ambition is to stimulate the personal growth of everyone involved.
Hermès endeavors to exalt, in twenty or so métiers, the most beautiful materials offered by nature. Our artisans’ skillful hands respect leather, silk, fabric, wood, crystal and precious metals. To preserve, optimize, revalue and draw… Our duty is to achieve the sustainable use of these resources.
Hermès owns 41 of its 52 manufactures in France and more than 300 stores around the world. Our proximity with suppliers, partners and territories is cultivated in the field. To fertilize, mesh, renovate and be committed… Our role, as an environment-friendly company, is to build sustainable ties.