“Petit h project” is a new project currently running a Hermès flagship store in London, and it’s meant to transform discarded Hermès materials into “upcycled” new objects of desire, building on the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi – where imperfections of nature are viewed as assets of beauty, according to Wallpaper*.
According to PSFK, “[Designer Faye] Toogood used red as the primary color in the installation and painted shelves and parts of the floor in blood red. The studio installed meat hooks on the wall to hang the shop’s pieces. They used glossy leather and resin to create the effect of dripping blood on the display items. Grey knives and other trade equipment were placed on a wall, above metal counters.”
“Stacks of dyed hides, horsehair, scarves, gloves and leather fittings [are] being turned around into playful art objects,” said designer Toogood.
However, the company is not really “upcycling” their goods since they are not turning their products into another practical object, like say, water bottle yoga pants. What they are doing is turning products into an “artistic” installation. In fact, “The idea is to create exceptional objects that are unique in their spirit of invention and in the quality of their execution,” explained Pascale Mussard, the sixth-generation descendant of the Hermès family who spearheaded the project, via Wallpaper*.
Certainly, an artist installation is another use of the material that supposedly would go to waste, but what happens to all of it when the installation ends on Dec. 7? Also, why is it made to look like a meat factory? It certainly isn’t a demonstration of the tragedy of animal exploitation in fashion, since Hermès uses many different animal hides in the production of their products.
It almost seems as though the fashion brand is simply creating this installation because they can. It will draw a certain crowd to their store and further separate the connection between animal products they sell, like leather, and the animals that die as a result.
In all honesty, why take a finished product – treated leather – and situate it in a setting that hints at blood and gore, minus any mention of the actual animal that created it? Being a meat-packer or worker in a tannery is certainly not a fashionable profession. Calling this installation an upcycling project is also a pretty far stretch — it’s more of a publicity stunt, if you ask us.