What’s in a Name?
By Chase Owens
Tucked away within the districts of Paris in 1837, was a workshop opened by French leather-smith, Thierry Hermès. In the early 1800s, horses were the most popular form of transportation within the city, leading to a need for harnesses and saddles. Hermès served the upper-class royals and the elite of French society, quickly making a name for himself as a true artisan. With his own name and reputation preceding him, Thierry Hermès rose quickly in status, with his workshop becoming the benchmark for quality leather goods.
As Hermès aged, he passed on the family trade to his son, who opened a new shop upon 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, nearly directly in the city center, expanding the reach of the house and further building the name of the brand with an iconic new location. Hermès evolved into a fashion house when it was passed from Thierry Hermès’ son to his grandson, Émile Hermès, in 1922. The new heir of the workshop is responsible for what we now know the brand for today: Hermès’ incredible leather-made bags that never fail to turn heads.
From this rebirth, the fashion house of Hermès emerged, leading to renaissance in the mission of the brand. Although the choice of the name may seem obvious, there is more inspiration than what appears on the surface. Émile Hermès was a true connoisseur of the arts throughout his life, leading to him finding inspiration in many different places. One of the many places that inspiration was drawn from was the myths of the Greeks. The myth in particular that was responsible for the choice of naming the newly formed fashion house was the Greek god of the same name. Hermes, in mythology, is known as the Messenger God, famous for traveling long distances with his messenger bag and winged sandals to deliver news to the gods across the heavens.
In Hermès’ modern state, the house is still most famous for their leather Birkin bags, a staple of fashion culture and arguably the most valuable bags in the world. The name Hermès continues to carry the rich history of a family in Paris who crafted a fashion empire, even still using the emblem of the horse and buggy where the story began, while also representing the mythical nature of the Greek’s folklore.