Spain is the result of numberless cultures interlaced. A rich land within an immense variety of activities. Their villages, their towns, have distilled what they are today over centuries. Defining each city with a single word is almost impossible, although simplifying a lot, we could associate a single word with some. For example, Barcelona would be modernity; Burgos, tradition and Seville, mysterious charm. If we go to the south of the peninsula, specifically to the Sierra de Cádiz, where it is not, but you can sense the sea, we find a small town called Ubrique.
Ubrique it’s talking about the capital of the artisanal leather in the world. This town in the Sierra de Grazalema is a world reference for leather. Of the almost 18,000 people who live in the beautiful and white houses, more than 80% are dedicated directly or indirectly to the work of leather. This tradition clashes directly with the times we are living of automation of almost all processes that affect the daily lives of people. A tradition that has become a way of life. This way of life has ended up becoming living history. That’s why our artisans are from this beautiful place.
Leather and Ubrique : A centuries-old idyll
The history of Ubrique and its relationship with the leather goes back centuries. The first data on the treatment of leather date back to 5,000 and 6,000 years before Christ. In these years leather goods originated, although in a more rudimentary way than the current one. In the beginning, leather was treated without removing the hair and therefore, the malleability was affected.
Spain was – and still today – a meeting point of diverse cultures. Arabs, Jews and Romans coexisted in the south of the peninsula and were the architects of the consolidation of cities such as Granada, Córdoba and, of course, Ubrique as nerve centers of the leather. The Saracens also played an important role in the development of this way of life in places like this. They brought new tanning techniques to the peninsula, introducing elements such as salt, which would help to improve the products with greater durability.
“Authenticity is one of the values that Café Leather shares with Ubrique.”
Ubrique: Leather Goods as a synonym of Authenticity
The tradition and quality of Ubrique artisans has reached our days. Today, this beautiful village surrounded by cork trees and rocks combines the craft tradition with the advances of modern factories. At Café Leather we are committed to excellence, quality and meticulousness that place Ubrique as a world reference when talking about leather products.
Authenticity is one of the values that Café Leather shares with Ubrique. All our products are made in different phases. In this way, you get a perfect result on each product. Our craftsmen divide their work in various stages, from cutting to finishing and final touches, through the recess, stamping and sewing. We also put emphasis on everything that surrounds quality control and packaging. All this process is the proof that the passion for the skin that exists in Ubrique and allows to place it in the Olympus of the artisan capitals of the world.
Ubrique: The History of Leather
The work of leather emerged in Ubrique in response to a need. Some historians believe that the first leather utensils that were manufactured in this town in the south of Spain were belts to transport tobacco. However, the vast majority differs from that theory, and defend that the first original design manufactured in the village was the Precise. The Precise was a leather product that allowed local workers to carry tools such as silex stones or iron bricks so necessary for the forging in a safe way.
The Precise was just the beginning. The town of Ubrique dedicated almost all of his resources to the work of the leather in an artisan way until the arrival of the Industrial Revolution. This new techniques to treat and tan the leather in town accelerate all processes. However, the people remained faithful to its artisan values, maintaining an authenticity in force today.