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LVMH to Christen Texas Leather Workshop Producing ‘Made in the USA’ Bags

Fashion and politics will converge in an unlikely setting this week, as President Trump and the world’s second-richest man, Bernard Arnault, plan to meet on Thursday to tour LVMH’s recently opened Texas leather workshop.

The fashion company’s Keene, Texas, facility is located on sprawling, 260-acre Rochambeau Ranch (named for a French Revolutionary War general who aided the 13 colonies in establishing independence from British rule). The facility, which opened in June, currently employs around 150 workers who are tasked with crafting Louis Vuitton’s iconic leather bags. LVMH announced plans to expand to 1,000 employees within the next five years.

While the manufacturing center is the third LVMH facility to open in the U.S., Keene’s leather workshop is unique. The Dallas Morning News reported that the facility’s new recruits are required to complete a three-week training course with LVMH’s cadre of advanced leather artisans prior to crafting their first bags.

“Each piece produced at Rochambeau will reflect the leather working know-how that has been passed on from generation to generation at Louis Vuitton and our enduring commitment to quality and excellence,” Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke said in a statement obtained by the publication.

All of Rochambeau’s Louis Vuitton creations (which include the popular Neverfull bag, along with Artsy, Iena, Graceful, Palm Spring and Neo Noe styles) will carry “Made in the USA” tags. The styles retail from $1,400 to $2,200 apiece.

The world’s largest fashion company had reportedly been looking at locations in the Carolinas throughout 2017, before settling on plans to build its new facility in Texas.

While Arnault has not publicly commented on the factors that influenced the decision to move forward with the Keene location, in a recent statement he expressed his pleasure at being “able to contribute to the American economy and bring jobs to the retail manufacturing sector.”

President Trump, daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, along with U.S. Department of Energy Secretary and former governor Rick Perry, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, will all be treated to a tour of the leather working facility followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony.