Saint James, a certified French Living Heritage Company
The Living Heritage Company label (Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant) is awarded by the regional prefects. The examination of applications is carried out by the French Agency for Crafts and Living Heritage, under the supervision of a committee of experts.
The company has to possess specific economic assets. It must own equipment, tools, or machines of rare techniques and/or industrial property rights and/or execute an active creation and innovation process.
The company claiming the label must also have rare know-how, master traditional or highly technical manufacturing techniques, and/or internally train employees, particularly apprentices in an expertise that is not accessible in the field's classic course.
In Saint James' case, the label was awarded to recognize the raccoutreuses' profession, aka mending experts, and employing workers collectively possessing excellent savoir-faire, including a creative or innovative dimension.
Finally, the company must have been established for a long time in the same geographical territory and/or have a well-known name or brand, and/or carry out a social responsibility approach.
Different sectors of activity can apply for the Living Heritage Company label, including trades such as industry, gastronomy, the arts, and the culture sector.
Saint James was awarded the Living Heritage Company label in 2012. Heir to the first spinning mill founded in the town of Saint-James in 1850 by Léon Legallais, the company has been established in the region for more than 130 years, thus qualifying for one of the criteria required to obtain the label.
The unique know-how developed by all the craftsmen working for the company serves to manufacture quality products every day, with an extremely high level of care.
Saint James employs knitting engineers, seamstresses, and stitchers with great expertise for the making of its clothes, which is sometimes only possible to be acquired in-house, after training for almost two years in particular for the raccoutrage profession. Remeshing, or remaillage, is also a specific artisanal knitting skill that defines the brand.
As a result, the company enables this rare knowledge to give life to exceptional products and continue to exist in France and internationally.
This award, Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant, and these three letters, EPV, perfectly summarize Saint James's identity, history, and raison d'être.
"E" as a company but also as a crew (“Equipage” in French): all the members of this crew, all the people who work for the Saint James company every day, are linked by a shared vision, values, and heritage.
"P" for heritage (“Patrimoine” in French), to designate both the know-how and the interpersonal skills of a company which, in more than a century and a half, has never given up on authenticity and high standards.
"V," finally, for life (“Vie” in French), because the Saint James brand is constantly on the move, combining heritage and creativity, legacy and modernity.