Hermès In The Making | Discover A Culture Of Traditional Craftsmanship



Have you ever wanted to see how a Kelly bag with saddle stitch is sewed or how diamonds on a Chaîne d’ancre bracelet are set? Hermès IN THE MAKING opens up the doors from 19th - 29th of May at OGR Torino (Turin) to meet artisans and to take a deep dive into sustainable craftsmanship. The event itself takes over an important commitment in demonstrating the importance of traditional craftsmanship and placing it into a context of modern society.

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Since industrialization our planet and society have experienced dramatic changes in production processes and consumption. Over more than six generations Hermès safeguarded artisanal skills and preserved their foundational expertise such as leather crafts, weaving, printing, jewellery, watchmaking, engraving or porcelain. Nowadays Hermès products stand for quality, durability and innovation, thanks to the culture of traditional craftsmanship and a deep understanding for high quality materials, the promotion of talents and the awareness to treat surrounding environments consciously. 

The event Hermès IN THE MAKING takes us on a ride into sustainable practices where live demonstrations, workshops, interactive activities and films put those practices on stage. The visitor discovers the traditional printing process of a Hermès silk scarf, the painting on porcelain such as plates, vases and other porcelain items, the setting of gemstones into jewellery, the process of working the leather or the discovery of how watchmakers assemble watch components. Not tired? So you can learn how to sew the Hermès signature saddle stitch or create your own paper printing. 



Have you ever thought about repairing your beloved bag ? Would you like to know how to refurbish a bag? If so, Hermès IN THE MAKING offers you to see how a bag can be spruced-up. And this feels so right, more and more companies are offering repair services to their customers nowadays, so Hermès does. In fact, it should be common sense for everyone to treat their beloved products well, thus supporting longevity instead of constant consumption. Sure Hermès products are fun and made to be handed down from one generation to another, but sometimes parts need to be restored. A good opportunity to watch how artisans refurbish a bag, replacing the zip of a handbag or renewing the seams of a purse. 

But sustainability is also about reuse. Combining, adapting or assembling things that don't look alike, bringing together shapes and materials that don't usually go together - this is the sustainable approach adopted by PETIT H. Using discarded materials from the other Hermès métiers, artisans, artists and designers come together to creatively improvise and combine them in different ways. With playful innovation, the PETIT H workshop brings whimsical and unique objects to life.



Producing locally is key for green and ethical business practices. Over the past three decades Hermès was able to create new jobs throughout France. About half of the new jobs created each year are based in France. By anchoring in regional communities the company could achieve a preservation of exceptional techniques, long-standing geographic roots and was able to implement them into the making processes. Best practice: the Hermès bags which are handcrafted 100% in France. In order to support the growth of the métier, each workshop recruits between 250 and 280 artisans each year.



Since industrialisation, the way we value work has changed immensely. Today Craftsmanship is not valued as highly as it deserves to be. In fact craftsmanship offers huge opportunities to promote awareness of longevity and to redress the imbalance in the appreciation of the professions. Furthermore the aspiration must exist for the coming generation to take up the climate professions of tomorrow. This also applies to craft trades.

Since 2016 the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès created Manufacto, an original programme designed to introduce schoolchildren to craft trades. It takes place over twelve, two-hour sessions per group, which are organized during class time at volunteer educational establishments. Today Manufacto involves sixty-five classes in sixteen French departments, reaching some 1,600 pupils and has launched two successful pilot projects in London and Milan.

Overseen by a trio of professionals – a craftsperson, an assistant and an educator – the pupils (8 to eighteen years) discover the skills of craft. A lamp, a stool, a wallet, a pencil box, all objects are made up to discover the pleasure of creating and finally to boost students’ self-confidence.

But the objects are more than just practical objects. Each piece can be taken home, thus they are also ambassadors for social manners, a message to parents and society - a beautiful opportunity to set up a conversation about the art of craftsmanship nowadays. In other words: “Because at the end our entire society can not survive with just service oriented professions”, says Olivier Fournier resident of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès and a member of the Executive Committee. Something that we should think about today for future generations.


+  Words & Photos:

Jens Wittwer 
Luxiders Magazine