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Fashion 101: Why Luxury is Expensive; The Hermés Bag

Fashion 101: Why Luxury is Expensive; The Hermès Bag

Fashion 101: Why Luxury is Expensive; The Hermés Bag
The Hermès Birkin bag.

By Alexandra SUHNER ISENBERG

Editor-at-Large

December 7, 2010 - We all know the Hermès bag is one of the most coveted luxury goods in the world, with the Birkin and Kelly bags leading the way as two of the most desirable handbags in existence.

But they do not come cheap, prices start at around $7,500 for a Kelly bag and can go well into the hundreds of thousands if you are using crocodile, diamonds, and other precious materials. But it is not just the materials we are paying for, or the brand name, the Hermès bag is expensive because of the laborious construction process involved in making each bag. Today's Fashion 101: Why Luxury is Expensive is about the Hermès bag.

First of all, the craftsman will train for several years before they are allowed to make a bag. Most of the Hermès craftsman come from a school in Paris called Ecole Grégoire-Ferrandi, who specialize in leather, particularly saddle making and "maroquinerie" which refers to handbags and similar items.

Once you've completed the course there, you have 15 months of training at Hermès, where you make watch straps, handles, and do other exercises. After that you can start on bags, but craftsmen need five years experience making bags before they can "graduate" to crocodile. There are about 2,000 craftsman working for Hermès, and each craftsman usually only specializes in four bag shapes. Luggage is made in a separate workshop, and is usually made by men as luggage requires a lot more strength during its construction, particularly when it is turned out...read more



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