The Artisans of Ubrique


Since the beginning, Polène has chosen to locate its production facilities in Ubrique, in the south of Spain, a town celebrated for its excellent leather goods craftsmanship and the unparalleled talent of its people. Today, more than 1,300 artisans work to bring the pieces designed in the Paris studio to life.

All of the steps involved in making a bag—from receiving leathers to dispatching orders—take place within the space of five kilometers. This choice to rely on local production allows us to offer quality control and avoid unnecessary transport. It is also a wonderful opportunity to showcase the creativity of Ubrique’s artisan community. The town’s distinct dynamic is based on a strong sense of community, as well as an in-depth knowledge of leather goods passed down through the generations.

Much like a video travel diary, the “Hors-Champ” documentary series offers an inside view of this unexpected cluster of artisans. Focusing on their hands to tell their story and stepping away from the workshop to trace their steps, Polène paints a portrait of Ubrique that highlights the creativity and expertise of the town’s inhabitants.

The daughter of a leather cutter and a seamstress, Sonia joined the workshops when she was 16. Today, she oversees a production team of thirty artisans. She divides her time between different tasks, including shaping, stitching, and edge painting. She has inherited her mother's knowledge and attention to detail, along with her unwavering tenacity. Sonia is truly inspired by the determination of the women in her family. An accomplished writer, she has authored two novels, one of which is a tribute to her grandmother. While she enjoys escaping into her writing, Sonia has not strayed from her career goal of running her own workshop within the next five years.

Leather-cutting artisan José Maria has been honing his craft since the age of 16. The bag’s perfection comes from his quality work and skilled placement of the pattern on the most beautiful sections of the hide. Passionate about his craft and his close circle of artisan friends, he takes us to his farm on the edge of Ubrique, where he finds peace among nature and animals.

Ángel is the proud descendent of a family that has called Ubrique home for five generations. Like his father and grandfather before him, he has chosen to hand down his family name to his son, along with the values instilled in him through both work and soccer. His responsibilities as head of the cutting workshop include supervising the arrival and quality control of the hides and their cuts, a critical step in a bag’s production that sets the tone for all the other trades and workshops.

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