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Mr Schoemans retires after 45 years at Stahl

Jan '09
John Schoemans, who retired at the end of 2008, is the only member of staff to have achieved forty five years with Stahl. He joined the Dutch company in Waalwijk at age 17, virtually straight from school. His first appointment was in the laboratory and he stayed there throughout his career to become Head of the Applications Laboratory.

Here he has been organising Stahl's colour forecast collections both for the recent forecast books and posters and for Stahl's exhibitions and road shows around the world. As he became increasingly involved in training and fashion, they played a very important part in his life and he was often called “the Fashion Guru”.

He has also been running training courses in the local tannery schools and at the British School of Leather Technology (formerly Nene College and now a part of the University of Northampton, England) and the Lederinstitut Geberschule Reutlingen (Leather Institute - German Tanners' School Reutlingen).

Perhaps has most famous nickname was “Mr Patent”! He has long been associated with Stahl's Patent finishes both for the earlier solvent-based times and for the more recent water-based Patents. He carried out all the theoretical and field testing work on these finishing systems.

During his career John has been responsible for Stahl's R & D quality control and for physical testing, both at times when the departments were much smaller than they are now and everyone helped each other. He developed a white pigment which became a very important Stahl product and to help the sales team he moved into the Applications Laboratory where he went on to develop other colours in constant contact with fashion designers. In this context John won the Saint Jordi Award in Mexico for “Man of Leather 2005”.

Much of John's work over the last ten years has been associated with fashion for the automotive and shoe industries and the associated leathergoods. He has played a leading role in setting up Stahl's Design Studio in Milan, Italy where his knowledge of creativity, upgrading, design and technology together with his understanding of leather has proved invaluable.

John has always been an enthusiastic lover of his work and says he will miss his friends in the leather industry. But he is proud to be handing this experience to a younger generation as he will be in the background helping to expand their knowledge of fashion and design on a global basis.

Stahl Holdings bv

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