PARIS — Craftsmanship is in vogue, according to the team behind the “Savoir Pour Faire” recruitment campaign.
“Twenty or 30 years ago, manual jobs had a bad reputation,” said Guillaume de Seynes, managing director of Hermès International, speaking at a press conference launching the campaign on Tuesday at the High Jewelry school in Paris.
“A lot of our employees tell us that when they were younger, either their teachers or their parents discouraged them from embarking on a career as an artisan,” he continued. “Later on in life, they realized that’s where their real passion lay and chose to switch careers. The aim of this campaign is both to show young people that manual jobs are a legitimate career choice, and that the context has changed: Twenty years ago, the textile industry was greatly suffering in France, whereas today it is driven by the success of French luxury.”
De Seynes is the president of the committee involved in the three-year government pact that was signed in January in order to support the fashion industry. The committee regroups the sectors of couture, ready-to-wear, jewelry and high jewelry, leather, watches, textiles and homewares.
“Savoir Pour Faire,” which is a wordplay on the French term “savoir-faire” and loosely translates as “to know in order to do,” is the committee’s first project. The campaign aims to recruit 10,000 additional workers a year in all sectors of the luxury industry.
While a clear delineation is yet to be made, among the projected 10,000 recruits, between 2,000 and 3,000 each will be in the clothing sector and the leather sector. Hermès alone recruits 100 artisans a year, according to De Seynes.
The recruitment campaign will be rolled out on social media for a full year and comes with a web site that mixes job offers and firsthand testimonies of the reality of working within the luxury industry, shining a spotlight on both a real need for qualified artisans as well as a flourishing sector.
“Current economical circumstances point to the fact that craftsmanship is trending,” said Pascal Morand, executive president of the French fashion and couture federation, speaking at the press conference alongside De Seynes and Marc Pradal, president of the French union of fashion and clothing industries. “Luxury groups and major brands are getting very good results.”
According to an IFM study quoted at the press conference, more than 600,000 people are employed in the French luxury industry, which generates 154 billion euros in revenues and accounts for 1.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
“We wanted to put these technical jobs forward: Up until now, they have remained pretty hidden,” Pradal said. “Today, the luxury industry has a great need for them. It’s up to us to shine a spotlight on the know-how and passion that are part of craftsmanship.”