Kermit Oliver is a postal employee who lives in Waco, Texas. He is also the designer of a very popular series of Hermès scarves:
How that happened is an interesting story.
The sixteen scarves that Kermit has designed for Hermès represent three decades of work. Kermit takes six months to a year to design each one, depending on the intricacy of the image and the research required. When he finally arrives at a finished composition, he paints it onto a ninety-by-ninety-centimeter square of watercolor paper, the same size as the scarves, and sends it by FedEx to Hermès in Paris. After the design atelier there approves it, it moves on to the production facility in Lyon, where each color in the painting is traced onto ninety-centimeter-square slides and, in turn, each slide is etched onto a silk screen. That is to say, every color requires its own screen, and because Kermit’s work is both so colorful and so intricate, his scarves are some of the most laborious to print. They are also some of the most beloved. T. Boone Pickens’s wife, Madeleine, and Chase Bank executive Elaine Agather are said to be huge collectors. And while there are thousands of scarves designed by Kermit in the world, they are so treasured that few are ever available for purchase at any given time, and the handful that do make it to eBay sell for $800 or $900. An employee of the Hermès store in Houston told me that when a new design of Kermit’s is announced, it usually sells out before it even hits the floor.