A vegetarian designer to revive a leather goods brand. French businessman Franck Dahan has invested in the Joseph Duclos maison. He has entrusted it to Ramesh Nair (pictured). Although he is a vegetarian, he has already been responsible for the relaunch of Moynat, and is an admirer of quality leather. He now works with tanneries where the hides are transported on shoulders, then polished and brushed by hand. But there is more.
Joseph Duclos was an entrepreneur from Toulouse, owner of the tannery La Manufacture Royale de Lectoure. At the end of the 18th century, he supplied French royalty with the highest quality leathers, processed using natural tanning methods and the purest spring water.
The Joseph Duclos brand has a history of tannery and leather. The first collection will be presented on September 24, in Paris. Behind the brand is financier Dahan, who, in addition to Nair, also recruited general manager Emmanuelle Voisin from Moynat. Nair explains to WWD that for Duclos he wants to preserve rare materials, knowledge and craftsmanship in France. At the heart of the products is the leather, selected by the vegetarian designer himself from three suppliers focused on high quality leathers and ecological tanning methods.
The artisans chosen for the production come from Les Compagnons du Devoir, a training programme on manual work promoted by the French government. One of them will be permanently employed in the new Parisian boutique for special productions. Each of the brand’s bags will be numbered and bear the name of the artisan who made it. And it will range in price from around 2,000 to 6,000 euros.
The former tannery
Before designing the collection, Nair visited the site of the former tannery (which will be transformed into a luxury hotel). The oak and birch bark sticks used to mix the dyes are still preserved here. At the time, La Manufacture Royale de Lectoure obtained royal warrants from King Louis XV for its exceptional leathers. The French army used its leather for footwear and jackets. The Duclos tannery ceased its activity more than a century ago. Now, its heritage lives on in the leather goods of the newborn brand.