2008 recession is behind: Ubrique old leather cluster invests in the future (aiming to hook fashion top brands)

Ubrique wants to rise from its own ashes, as phoenix used to do in the past. In fact, companies based in the small leather cluster located in the area around Cadiz, in the south-west of Spain, are striving hard to entice luxury fashion brands: for the records, some fashion houses have already been hooked (according to rumours, Dior, Chloé and Lanvin are reportedly running some production sites here), some more might come over shortly. Spain’s small village, surrounded by forests, has been fully focused on leather processing since the past days, when early tanners used the tree bark to make a substance suitable for tanning. Many small businesses, tanneries and leather goods factories came up this way in the late fifties; on the other hand, many companies ceased their activity recently. In fact, as reported by drapersonline.com, 2008 recession seriously hit several entrepreneurs, who consequently decided to move their manufacturing to Asia, most of all in China. Yet, in Ubrique they are aiming to revamp the business now. Companies based in the cluster, 86% of which currently hire 10 employees, are joining forces to overcome various barriers, which have so far dissuaded top brands from investing in the area. The language, to begin with: here there are 8,000 words to define the subsequent stages of the tanning process, for example. Conversely, Movex foundation, Spain’s leather technology centre, is focusing their efforts on technology upgrading: the aim is to make local manufacturers more versatile and flexible to meet the needs of the fashion brands. Some important fashion players, such as Louis Vuitton and Dunhill, have come today to the Spanish village, where they mostly manufacture accessories; other brands are paying much attention to the quality of products made in the place. Its strategic position, close to Cadiz (which is a port city in front of the Atlantic Ocean), makes Ubrique “close” to England: focus on British brands then. That is the primary goal. (Pictures are taken from rojasubrique.com).



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