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Let the material do the talking: Pedro García’s hybrid techniques for a respectful approach

For over fifty years, Pedro García has been working on the possibilities in footwear design, with its Made in Spain pledge and social responsibilities

Pedro García’s experimentation on materials 

Over time Pedro García’s design approach has adopted certain physical attributes, which became traditional while associated to the brand’s collections that speak to the country’s culture. The team is aware of the message conveyed through their work, connected to the product: a creative space where the brand explores its possibilities and pushes them further, looking back at the history of the label, while adopting a modern perspective. 
They work outside their usual context. Through their experimental process, the house has created a decorative language for its footwear that became an integral part of its identity. The employment of the Castoro raw-edge suede cowhide has brought anatomical soles on high heels. This material is soft, but at the same time has a thick and flexible consistency which offers rigidity to the designs, without requiring internal structure or a lining, so that the use of seams is reduced to the minimum. The soles are made from a mix of natural rubber and cork that guarantees strength and flexibility. Inspired by the shape of a footprint in the sand, the anatomical soles distribute bodyweight with a cushioning effect, absorbing impact as the wearer walks, while allowing the foot a full range of movement. That idea is one of Pedro García’s signature design, whose novel raw-edge treatment is used to bring satin out into the daylight, rubbing its association with evening wear out. A new way of presenting a material: cutting it to leave raw edges, without finishes or seams, making the shoes more comfortable.
The same rough-hewn finish was employed in the Vacchetta sandals. They are made of vegetable-tanned leather, a technique that can be traced back to Ancient Rome, where people noticed that certain tree barks helped to preserve hides. It relies only on natural tannins, vegetal preservatives that give the leather characteristics like patina. An artisanal construction which stems from years of research, as the frayed satin, today a badge of the Spanish brand. The drayed silk satin is found again in the old school-inspired sneakers Parson, where the material is again treated with the raw edge finish. Rendered in premium stitch split suede cowhide, the profile is crafted from twenty-four individual pieces; the sneakers show the contrast of conventional materials and silhouette cues to create a new form. 
The brand is built on a foundation of craftsmanship, being the design process an ongoing experimentation, which continues until a suitable aesthetic solution is found. The combination of the designers’ talent, along with the skilled hands of the artisans turns the factory in what the director himself calls a ‘Design Laboratory’. The firm’s priority is to investigate with materials, shapes and colors resulting in specialist artisans merging opposing concepts to spawn hybrid silhouettes; they juxtapose contrasting materials and make them match. 

Pedro García’s Made in Spain social commitment 

Over the last ten years, Pedro García has been associated with the Made in Spain ethos. For three generations now, the shoes have been manufactured exclusively in the province of Alicante. Hence, for the family, made in Spain is synonymous with ‘made with quality by our people’, which involves a sense of social responsibility. The label aims at having the business make a positive impact on the local environment, with an ethical approach producing every piece in Elda. This enables a communication between the designers and artisans. Hereby the designs can be refined until quality is achieved. 
«Elda has a long and storied reputation for its shoemaking artisans, and we continue to stay here to express our deep sense of connection with the region and commitment to artisans’ value, supporting the local economy and employing the craftspeople» explained creative designer García. Made in Spain denotes even more than guarantying the quality of the brand. 
The label has made it its point to highlight the heritage that inspires its design: from the local architecture and landscape, the young García created a bi-annual photography journal titled Made in Spain. Photographed by Daniel Riera the journal captures the essence of different areas in Spain through an editorial content which features artisans and their work, culture and tradition of the area. The goal of the publication is to shine a light on the unknown diversity of the country, in a personal look on things that go unnoticed despite having always been there. 
Starting from the northwestern Celtic areas to cities like Barcelona, Menorca, Valencia and Madrid, to the desertic inland areas, the journal focuses on Spanish iconography, cultural attractions, as well as on the societal-harmony found in cities like Seville, where the co-existence of different civilizations under centuries of Moor rule has brought a distinct aura in the city. After a decade of exploring the country, all the material and all the stories have been gathered and translated into a Spain travel journal. The firm’s commitment to remaining linked to the Made in Spain philosophy became part of its logo, allowing clients to connect with the product, as well as with the history of Spain and its longstanding tradition in footwear industry. Now, it’s time to let the material do the talking. 

All the brand’s shoes are made at its own factory

Elda’s tradition in footwear

On the banks of the Vinalopó river, in the Mediterranean region of Alicante stands the city of Elda, a place known for its tradition in footwear industry and distinguished for its concentration of artisans. In the valley where Elda rises, Pedro García founded his label in 1925, a family brand of shoemakers with the entire company’s footwear manufactured in the family-owned factory. The Made in Spain pledge is part of their corporate identity. It was back in the nineteenth century that the region’s footwear business first came about, when local craftsmen and women created rudimentary esparteña sandals out of the esparto grass, which is still found in the mountains around the town. Craftspeople started to find different uses for natural vegetable fibers, such as jute and hemp and artisans began to make woven shoes, which can be seen today in traditional Alicante costumes.
The World War I and the following economic progress of the 1920s led the city to transform from a farming community to an industrial village, as more families began to embrace crafts using the local reeds. Apprentices moved in from outside the village, and by the end of the nineteenth century, factories sprung up to cope with the demand for quality shoes. Due to its historic value in shoemaking category in Spain, Elda was the right venue for the footwear Museum, an area to present the evolution, the history and the techniques of manufacture in this sector, from medieval times to present days. Over the years the city has hosted an annual shoe fair, which still attracts exhibitors, designers and manufacturers from all over Europe. 
For three generations the García family has kept the region’s manufacturing tradition, focusing an industrial craft know-how on every detail of their collections; a handcraft heritage and an extensive experience in manufacturing with only one goal: to obtain a product prestigious for its quality. 
Brother and sister Pedro and Mila García are the third generation to lead the shoe-making firm, with Mila holding the CE0 post, and Pedro as the label’s creative director; together they took over the reins from their father, who was also named Pedro García, as was their grandfather, giving the brand its own identity, as well as an international scope. One of the first brand’s hallmark was the introduction of Swarovski crystals on flat sandals, as the Sarabel model – flat sandals crafted from Tuscan leather. It’s laden with nearly three thousand Swarovski pavé micro crystals. Today, the label is sold in thirty-six countries, having a solid presence in the European, Asian and American markets.

Pedro Garcia footwear brand

Established in 1925 in Elda, Pedro García is a family-owned footwear business. Today thanks to the founder’s grandchildren, the company has become internationally renowned. The brand is known for its innovative use of materials, as well as its raw- edge treatment and its social commitment on the local environment, with the ethical approach of the “Made in Spain” philosophy.

Cecilia Falovo

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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