In conversation with Pedro García
I spoke to the Creative Director of Pedro García for David Jones on shoes, travel, and what it’s like to run the family business.
At Pedro García, time-honoured techniques are complemented by hands-on experimentations with materials, proportions and colour. The result? Incredibly unique, well-made shoes that put a serious strut in your step.
The García family has been making shoes since 1925, and it shows. With experimentation at the core of their philosophy, each style is born from an organic evolution – solid experience anchoring the brand’s deviation from standard methods of design.
KATHRYN CARTER: I have to know: when you meet someone new, do you always look at their shoes?
PEDRO GARCIA: It’s an occupational hazard.
KC: Your grandfather founded Pedro García in 1925 in Elda, where it still remains today. Do you have any childhood memories of visiting the factory?
PG: Early childhood memories of the factory are primarily ones of a sensory nature –the smells of the leathers and polishes, the whirrs of sewing machines and the pounding of hammers, just an overall bustling atmosphere.
KC: You and your sister Mila joined the Pedro team in the early ’90s. What’s the best part of being involved in the family business?
PG: We feel great pride and view it as an honour to be able to lead this company and continue the legacy of what is now nearing on 100 years of heritage.
KC: What does a typical day look like for you?
PG: The day is broken up between the home studio – where more of the creative work is done – and our global headquarters, where the factory, lab and offices are located. There, we meet with different teams and work through whatever the demands of that particular day may be. We could be working with our technicians and artisans on the execution of a new silhouette, or vetting materials and new colours… There really is no ‘typical’ day. Every day is different – but never dull.
KC: Your most recent collection was inspired by your travels from Peratallada, a storybook town of Gothic architecture, to La Bisbal, the ceramics capital of Catalonia. Are all of your collections deeply influenced by Spanish culture?
PG: A certain ‘Spanish spirit’ naturally courses through our practice, but is by no means the only thing that informs our work.
KC: All Pedro García shoes are still made in Spain. What’s the best part about making shoes in Spain?
PG: We are based in Elda, Alicante, Spain, the heart of a long distinguished area of shoemaking artisans and we have been here, proudly making shoes, since 1925. We are one of the last shoemaking brands still producing everything in-house.
It costs us far more to do it this way, but we are committed to our craft, our region, and the superior level of quality that comes along with the ability to oversee everything with your own eyes. There is also the benefit of flexibility and immediacy. Instead of having to send something out to an overseas manufacturer and wait three months to see if
it is even technically possible, we can try new ideas at will here onsite. The experience of our craftspeople is invaluable. It’s an enormous advantage when it comes to experimentation and innovation.
KC: How important are shoes to an outfit?
PG: Show me your shoes, and I’ll show you who you are...
KC: What are the three pairs of shoes every woman should own?
PG: It depends on the person and their lifestyle, but ultimately, everyone should own the pairs of shoes that make them feel good about themselves.
KC: If you had to wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what would they be?
PG: That is a very depressing thought and hope it never comes to that!
KC: What can we expect to see from Pedro García next season?
PG: Every collection is a surprise, even for us. We don’t start out with a heavily deliberated roadmap but rather let things evolve more organically – experimentation is at the core of our design process, so we can never really predict what the final result will be– but that’s what keeps things exciting, for us and our customer.
This interview was first published on David Jones's JONES blog in 2017.