The most primitive form of espadrilles has been made in Spanish region and dates as far back as 4000 years ago: thin sole made of braided jute rope and laces at the throat are wrapped around the ankle to protect feet from heat and abrasion. From the earliest times this type of footwear has rapidly gained popularity around the world for its comfort, lightness, durability and physical and mechanical properties (linen, jute – not only durable, but also has temperature-regulating properties). In Spain, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Bangladesh, India … Espadrilles have become not only a part of daily life but also a part of culture and history!
The term „espadrille“ is French and derives from the word in the Occitan language, which comes from Catalan „espardenya“. That is how espadrilles were named in the region of Catalonia. Etymologists compare the origin of the word „espardenya“ to the word „esparto“ (grass growing the Mediterranean area). The grass grows exclusively in a certain part of Spain called „Esparto grasslands“ and is valued for its durability, strength and other mechanical properties since ancient times. Naturally dried and then manually braided grass is used in making ropes, baskets (the oldest is 7000 years), espadrilles, mats, books and papers, furniture, accessories and household utensils. It also was used in shipping because the double –braided rope was hard and could withstand heavy loads.
Today‘s world and fashion in some way dictates innovative standards and design solutions whereas craftsmen have been applying espadrille traditional techniques in modern fashion standards over the years. One of them – Spanish trademark ,,Paloma Barcelo“. They can be called conservators of Spanish culture, history and fashion. The trademark Manolo Barcelo was established in 1960 in the Spanish shoe-making core.
The millenary espadrille manufacturing tradition, manual braided jute rope, linen, esparto, raffia, part of Spanish culture and art (linen, cotton and leather is decorated not only with characteristic colouring of Spanish architecture but also with ethnic patterns) combine with modern design. The jute sole are replaced by platforms made of extremely lightweight and part of them is masterfully wrapped around with natural fiber braided rope. Some platforms are decorated with braided raffia, linen or raffia lace that reminds small architectural elements and even traditional Spanish tile patterns. The espadrilles might include modern heels made of wood, massive buckles, glossy leather. Thus espadrilles have become classic, bursting with youth.
The manufacturing process requires effort, diligence and skills. To make one pair of footwear we need six or even eight people, a few dozen of working hours and engineering thinking of designer. Thus the „Paloma Barcelo“ footwear models look like modern architecture objects covered with the sun of Seville. Deeper investigation of the manufacturing process allows you to easily calculate production processes, working hours and used materials: more than one hundred meters of jute rope „to twist“ one sole, a few dozen meters of natural fiber yarns used for manual finishing of espadrilles, several kilograms of linen yarns and thousands of meters of esparto grass. The sole is typically vulcanized with rubber underneath and pressed to jute sole. Yarns of the same length and tension are hooked up on the machine. Natural materials ensure one hundred percent comfort, lightness and durability. Raw buffalo and calf leather allows feet breathing and maintains thermostatic properties.
Espadrilles have become inseparable part of wardrobe. Never aging, timeless and free of prevailing trends this is a true symbol of youth and freedom, gushing in Spain, Eiche region, where Spanish traditions have been developed by the „Paloma Barcelo“ trademark for more than fifty years. Originally designed by people for convenience, today espadrilles are conquering all the fashion capitals, podiums and store shelves.
More „Palomitas by Paloma Barcelo“ models here.