Centennial techniques: The manufacturing process of Hermès bags

The Hermès atelier is a brand that undoubtedly has a rich tradition in its manufacturing techniques. This fashion house has evolved over the years from its beginnings in 1837 as a workshop for riding implements, to the giant of style and luxury that it is today.

It is evident that Hermès owes its success to a tradition rooted from its early years, a heritage that has been perpetuated through the ages and that continues to stand tall as a personal hallmark of the atelier. It is about his predilection for the manual work of craftsmen, artisans who dedicate their time and experience to making unique pieces.

Have you ever wondered how your Hermès bag was made?

What processes led to the result that you show today with your elegant outfit?

Well, we give you a hint, it does not involve heavy machinery or mass manufacturing, it is a totally individual work carried out by the hands of the artisans.

Do you want to know the centennial techniques of the Hermès house? Take a look at what comes next!

  1. Leather work
  2. Saddle sewing method
  3. Seam sealing
  4. Handle making
  5. Hardware application
  6. Final inspection

Leather work

Much of the success of Hermès is due to the undoubted quality of its materials, especially the different leathers that they apply to make their bags. The workshop has reliable suppliers that offer different types of leather from calf, goat, crocodile, lizard and ostrich.

The first step to take before making an Hermès bag is the leather inspection process, and the preparation of the leather to begin assembling the delicate pieces of the accessory from the patterns. This step can take up to two hours, as it takes a lot of meticulousness to do it.

For this, the craftsmen obtain the previously processed leather and begin the inspection task taking into account any imperfection, bite or own mark of the animal, these details are highlighted with a marker for later elimination.

It should be noted that a bag may require the skin of several animals for its execution, for example, a lizard skin bag may need four to five lizards for its manufacture.

Once the leather is clean and in perfect condition, the craftsmen begin to cut it into different pieces according to the pattern of the bag that they are going to make. Each piece is polished and prepared separately to begin the famous saddle stitching method.

Saddle stitching method

To carry out this centennial technique, it is necessary to use a resistant linen thread, which is threaded in a particular way on two needles, not only passing through the holes but wrapping itself several times on the body of the needles, this creates a resistant knot for providing firmness to stitches.

This type of seam is characterized by its precise diagonal stitches, this implies that if one of the seams frays with the use of the accessory, the others will remain firm and will not easily come out of position. For this reason, Hermès relies only on expert craftsmen and carefully trains them for six years to learn the traditional method of the brand.

Before starting to sew, the craftsmen use a special pointed tool to mark the points through which the needles will pass, so it is much easier for them to go through the leather when sewing. Then both needles are inserted on each side, the stitches are made and the thread is pulled in opposite directions, creating the attractive Hermès diagonal stitching.

The thread used to sew Hermès bags is waterproof linen, this is achieved through the application of a layer of beeswax on the surface of the linen. This also prevents the material from rotting or wearing away.

During the sewing process, the craftsman has a special flat wooden press that holds the material together as each stitch is made. This flat press is tailor-made for each craftsman, so they are comfortable in position for several hours of sewing.

Seam sealing

Quality control is a very important issue for the Hermès atelier, for that reason its craftsmen strive to create a uniform effect in each of the bags, this is carried out after the sewing process, where the artisan takes a special hammer and carefully hit all areas of the seams, in order to even out the finish.

This technique also uses a small tool with which the contours of the seams are scraped, to later sand them and apply another layer of beeswax.

All this finally seals the seams and makes them more resistant, in addition to providing a uniform and perfect effect to the overall image of the bag.

Handle making

In the case of Birkin and Kelly bags, the Hermès house implements the creation of handles for the design of these accessories. Making the handles requires at least three hours of making by expert craftsmen, and depending on the model, it is necessary to use several pieces of leather to make the handle.

The handles of the Birkin bag are much thinner than those of the Kelly, so four strips of leather are used to create them. The technique used by the craftsmen involves the use of their own thighs as a base to shape the handles of the bag.

The artisans take the pieces and precisely align them one on top of the other, then begin sewing them with the saddle technique. It is necessary that the pieces do not move during the manufacture.

In the case of the Kelly bag, the handle is known for being thicker and stronger than the Birkin handles, so at least six different pieces of leather are applied to add enough strength and thickness.

A very specialized job!

Hardware application

This technique is perhaps one of the most important in the process of creating a Hermès bag, it’s called pearling, and it consists of the embedding of the hardware in the brand’s bags.

To begin with this process, the craftsmen obtain the metal pieces that consist of brass (an alloy of zinc and copper) that has been previously plated with gold, palladium, ruthenium or any other precious metal.

To incorporate them into the bag, the artisans have several important tools; one of them is a soft hammer and a chisel with a rounded concave tip; this allows pearling once the metal is introduced into the leather.

First, small holes are opened in the skin through which the metal will be introduced, then it is struck with a pressure hammer so that the metal plates are fixed in the material, and finally the pearling is carried out; Taking the concave chisel and hammer, the craftsmen strike while executing a circular motion with the chisel, resulting in a pearl finish on the metal rivets and permanently fixing them to the leather.

This technique is applied to all the hardware of the bag: the external clasp, the base supports, the metal parts of the clasp strap, and even the metal rings of the Kelly bag handle. This is an indisputable precision technique!

Final inspection

Once the craftsman completes the creation of the Hermès bag, the accessory awaits at least three rigorous inspections before it can reach the fashion house stores. It is a very meticulous process!

The first inspection is carried out in the workshop and is conducted by an expert inspector, who makes sure that every detail of the bag reaches the high standards of the Hermès brand, if it meets all the requirements, they apply the stamping with the serial code that identifies the craftsman and the year of creation.

The second inspection is chaired in the logistics department in the municipality of Bobigny in France. This exploration is much more detailed and strict, if the bag manages to pass the highest Hermès quality standards, then the last stamp that identifies it as the creation of the brand is added and finally placed in the dust bag and the orange box, to be sent to Hermès stores.

It should be noted that if a bag does not meet Hermès standards, the atelier is responsible for destroying it and disposing of it properly. This measure is taken to prevent bags from being resold or reaching other markets by malicious people.

What did you think of the Hermès bags manufacturing process? It is something completely incredible! Right?

Now that you know where your precious Hermès bag comes from, you will surely be able to give it much more value and treasure it as it should, as it is a luxury accessory and a true work of art.

If you have thought about expanding your collection of Hermès bags, we invite you to enter our online store, and reserve your favorite bag today.

Buy your Hermès bag with us!

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