AN IBERIAN ESCAPE
What could we possibly be doing in Alicante in October, a time when there’s not a tourist to be seen ?
October is when we place our orders, so it’s the perfect time to go through all our production specifications for next year with a fine-tooth comb.
Alicante is where our espadrilles come to life and is where the most skilled manufacturers – our partners – can be found. But since we don’t have time to enjoy the warm sea or the city’s sandy beaches, we’re soon off to Murcia and its acres of unspoiled countryside, with nothing in sight except our workshops, behind a fence.
It is this workshop that is responsible for the finishes that identify our brand. And every detail counts when it comes to making an espadrille an Escadrille, from correcting tiny mistakes to ensuring seams are excellently executed. Spending a few hours together at the workshop saves us weeks of long-distance back-and-forth.
It’s also an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas based on our partners’ historical expertise and whose experience can only be communicated over long conversations.
Most importantly, with every visit we strengthen the trust between us – something that is built over time.
And it is by meeting a community of people who share a piece of history, with craftspeople in charge, that a company takes on meaning.
As is often the case in Spain, it’s a family-run business taken over by Luis from his parents. The journey has been far from straightforward, with the company almost going under 20 years ago when Chinese quotas were lifted and it lost some of its biggest clients. Luis, who managed to get the business back on its feet and who is familiar with the difficulties of multi-family ownership, says that this period also allowed him to start over “by himself”. Even though several years later, his mother, cousin, wife and sister-in-law can all be found at the factory – family is never far away!
My Spanish is a little rusty and Luis is speaking so quickly, like I were his childhood friend. Luckily Philippe is there to save me – a long-standing partner of Escadrille who is kind enough to join me on these visits and who has the big advantage of being both Basque and coming from Auvergne in France!-
A QUICK REMINDER OF HOW OUR ESPADRILLES ARE MADE
Our espadrilles are made in the Spanish region of Murcia. The rope is woven in Alicante and is then assembled in Cehegín. We then choose canvases woven in Spain or France, and European leathers tanned in Spain.
Once all our materials have been selected, normally in February, we make prototypes to check the style, comfort and fit. These prototypes are often rectified several times before we get the perfect pair of Escadrille espadrilles!