Founded in 1936 by Martin Magnusson, the company is run today by the third and fourth generation of Magnussons. Design and development is done at the headquarters in the town of Hestra, Sweden. Their gloves are manufactured in their own factories and they buy all leather, fabrics, wool and other materials themselves. This gives control of the production chain and ensures a high level of quality.
The first step is done at the tannery, where leather goes from raw hide to a soft and supple full grain leather. Next the leather is checked by glove cutters, who prepares it for cutting with moisturizers and powders. Thirdly, the glove cutter must stretch the leather and determine how much stretch will be left in the leather to ensure a perfect fitting glove. The fourth step is cutting, which is done with shears, a blunt knife, and a ruler calibrated in French inches. The glove material is marked with lines and the side sections of the fingers are stretched and cut. The cutter’s knowledge and feel for the grain and texture of the leather determine the fit of the glove, and can only be learned through painstaking practice under the watchful eye of the master cutter. The final steps are sewing and finishing, followed by pressing and polishing to give the glove its final shape and finish.
Leather is a remarkable natural material with protecting and insulating properties. But different leather suit different types of gloves. For dress gloves, Hestra have chosen to work with what is quite simply the finest leather in the world, both when it comes to the selection of rawhides as well as the tanning and dyeing. It is aniline leather, dyed all the way through for a superior feel and color depth. However, this leather can also be sensitive to rain as it can leave stains and darken the color. It is important to remember that no leather is “perfect” as it is a material that is not produced but rather made by nature. Every skin has its own structure and characteristics in the form of marks and occasional irregularities. Handling the unique properties of each piece of leather is perhaps the most important aspect of the cutter’s work and craftsmanship.
Avoid getting gloves wet if possible, but if they do get wet, they should be dried flat at room temperature. Keep them away from any source of heat to avoid drying out the leather. If stains appear, try running it with a soft cloth together with talcum powder.
Gloves from Hestra’s table cut line are handmade in a small workshop in accordance with the French tradition of glove making, a method that has been unsurpassed since the 17th century. Table cut gloves should rest from time to time, so allow a day between wearing whenever possible by using an alternate pair. Also, table cut gloves should be stretched periodically by holding the glove by the fingertips and the cuff, and pulling over the edge of a table. This restores the original shape and fit of the glove as the elasticity of the leather returns to its original condition.