On 11 November 2015, 28 DBA students from Year 1 to Year 3 went on a learning journey to the Hermès Leather Forever Exhibition to discover the heritage and brand story of Hermès.
The learning journey started at the Little Room of Wanders, located just outside the Asian Civilization Museum. The room was filled with private collections by Émile Hermès from all around the world and a few Hermès products. The dimly lit room with a wooden concept for the antique showcase was enough to make visitors feel transported to the past.
Every piece in the collection that was displayed had its own story - its origins, influences, uses and aesthetic qualities. These pieces have inspired Hermès to create original products that were made in a creative and quirky fashion yet still functional and practical. This mini exhibition gives visitors a glimpse of how Hermès has evolved from a horse harness making family shop to what it is today.
The next stop in the learning journey was at the main exhibition called Leather Forever located at the ArtScience Museum. Upon entering the exhibition, we were greeted by the colorful leathers hanging on the walls, the neatly displayed Hermès bags, wallets and leather jackets and also an interactive technology station in the middle of the exhibition room.
Hermès leathers come in various colurs.
At the station, visitors can simply select any type of bag and the projector will cast the different parts of the bag on the pre-displayed leather which will be prepared for laser cutting. This interactive media engages visitors to have an overview of one of the processes to create a Hermès bag.
A student trying out the interactive media.
As we visited the different rooms of the exhibition, we realized that Hermès has created countless of timeless products. The designs were innovative, even when they were inspired by something as simple as a door latch mechanism to create a handbag lock and a dog’s collar to create a belt. We also learned the difference between a Kelly bag and a Birkin Bag. Although both bags look similar, a Kelly bag has a single handle while the Birkin bag has two handles.
Variations of Kelly and Birkin bags.
As part of the SG50 celebration, Hermès has created 5 Kellydoll bags made to honour every decade of Singapore’s independence. This is part of Hermès’ multi-local approach in their marketing communication.
Photo credit: James Bort
“Leather is a language that evokes the senses.”
The highlight of the exhibition was watching a craftsman at work. Specially flown in from the Hermès workshop in Paris, we had the opportunity to watch a demonstration of the craftsman’s elaborate stitching to create one of Hermès iconic bags. With the help of a French translator, we communicated with the craftsmen and were mesmerized by the process of hand-making a Hermès bag. It is no wonder that the bag is highly priced because excellent quality is assured.
Stitching demonstration by Hermès craftsman
We would like to thank our guides, Ms Michelle Neo and Ms Andrea Retnam (Cultural Attachée, Hermès Singapore), for their time and effort to show us around the exhibition. We would also like to thank our two lecturers Ms Leung Sau Yee and Ms Sarah Lim for making this learning journey a memorable experience for business students in Singapore Polytechnic.
Article written by Nurfarhanah Bte Mohd Sharon (DBA/FT/3B/11)