- Aug 24, 2011
- Reaction score
Hm ok, I was quite sure they weren't that many anymore, and there certainly hasn't been anything near 15 people in the building the last couple of times I've visited. But I could be wrong.JLP has 15 people working on shoes in the workshop. I don’t think they plan on increasing or decreasing that number.
EDIT: Sorry, thought you meant John Lobb St James, then don’t mind the above.
Yeah in a way LVMH and Hermés have been very important for the bespoke craft, and for employing and making it worthwile taking the effort to become a shoemaker, at least in France. Berluti has around 20 employed in the Paris and Delos workshops combined, and then around 15 at JLP. And they are probably the ones with the most "normal" work environment, with regular working days and decent salaries.Hermès would endure huge damage to its reputation if it started fucking up bespoke orders for saddles and what not. Seeing how they sell 10, 20k+ euro handbags by the thousands, keeping JLP Bespoke at a high level is peanuts to them.
On the other hand, JL-St James having to use gig economy contracts like Uber drivers for its 10-20 employees shows that they clearly don't have the same financial constraints as Hermès, or indeed LVMH which owns Berluti.
LVMH bought out the entire atelier of Anthony Delos just to keep the reputation of Berluti bespoke intact. Just like Chanel bought dozens of lace and embroidery ateliers to stay on top of haute couture.
Independently-owned companies like JL-St James might struggle to survive actually, and that's even discounting the fact that big groups bought all the tanneries and keep the top tier leather to themselves.
Another note worth doing, is that as I understand it royalties from Hermés for the John Lobb name is still a very important income for the Lobb family of the St James operation. So in a way, the luxury goods and factory made shoes are enablers of a lot of bespoke shoemakers, whether we like it or not.