Sarah's Spanish Factory Visit2017-08-27
Nadine and I travel to Spain one to two times a year, usually when we're crafting a new last or new collection (hint, hint!). This trip is no different, as we're hard at work on shaping the perfect last for a sleek Winter silhouette that's sure to be a hit when the weather turns cool. We're also tackling a few smaller items - from tweaking the fit of our block heel and prototyping riffs of our seasonless styles, to visiting our fabric and leather suppliers to see the latest from the tanneries and mills in Italy.
Last but not least, we worked with our exotics supplier to create the perfect custom shade of Gray lizard for the shoe we designed in collaboration with The Line for our July pop-up in Los Angeles. And of course, there's nothing better than getting to catch up with our team at the factory over paella and wine at the end of the day.
Usually, the day begins early at the hotel where Nadine and I catch up and brainstorm over a breakfast of coffee, Jamón ibérico, and melon. Then, we catch a ride to the factory where they've been hard at work since 6 AM. Often, we're greeted with samples to try and prototypes to inspect. For the next few hours, we'll work out of the sample room at the factory, putting together orders, reviewing color cards, and problem-solving with the technicians at the factory.
The factory closes at three in the afternoon, and we head to a nearby restaurant for a late-afternoon lunch. With the international crowd that's coming and going on footwear business, the town has become home to several incredible restaurants. A personal favorite is a nondescript seafood bar that dishes up only the freshest fish from nearby Mediterranean ports. In true Spanish style, we'll linger over lunch until five in the afternoon, continuing our conversations from the factory to the restaurant. Then, work begins again as we set out to visit various suppliers until they close at 7 PM. It's then back to the hotel for Nadine and I, where we catch up on emails and sleep before it all begins again the next morning.
The town in which we manufacture in Spain is particularly unique for a number of reasons - its long and rich heritage of footwear manufacturing, its connections to top raw materials suppliers from around the world, and its independent ecosystem of factories. The main factory - where the uppers are cut and stitched and the shoes lasted - sits on the edge of a cluster of factories against a dramatic backdrop of jagged, rocky mountains. Just minutes down the road, you'll find the leather suppliers, the fabric suppliers, the solemaker, the lastmaker, and others - all of whom have become partners and friends over the course of the last few years we've been in business. Our collaborators greet us like friends and embodies the "can do" spirit that Alexa and I value so much in those we work with. They're always up for the challenge, and with the centuries of experience between them, they always deliver.
- Sarah Pierson
Learn more about our craft here.
Photos by Bridget Badore for Margaux