August 31, 2020 0 Comments
Not only are they wildly popular worldwide, Avarcas also have a rich history - from humble and dusty farming origins to Menorcan guesthouses for the wealthy, all the way to your feet!
Avarcas are a style of shoe that originates from the island of Menorca. One of four islands that makes up the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, Menorca is the smaller island to well known Mallorca, and sister islands to Ibiza and Formentera. The Balearics are accessible via a 20-minute flight from Barcelona or 9-hour ferry trip. The islands are known around the world for their stunning turquoise waters, narrow cobblestone pathways, amazing cheese and gin, long siestas, and fresh seafood. Most importantly though, Menorca is also known for its Avarca or Menorquina Spanish sandals! Sounds like our kind of place, right?
As if we could love it any more, this deeply gorgeous island has a love affair with shoes that has lasted the distance. And it just so happens, so do we!
The first Avarcas were made in the late 1800s for Menorcan farmers who needed a durable and affordable shoe. This shoe needed to carry them from the dirt on the farm, into the town, day after day. Originally made entirely from leather, the 1920s saw a change in the use of materials when cars became popular modes of transport and car tyres became abundant. With a flair for innovation and sustainability that was ahead its time, Menorcan shoemakers began to upcycle car tyres to create the soles of their Avarcas.
The story goes that sometime in the 1950s, a small guest house in Menorca began to provide its guests with Avarcas to wear as they walked along the beach. The women adored them but wanted something a little more feminine, and a little less farm- sturdy, which resulted in the creation of the Avarca as we know them today. Our gorgeously feminine, stylish Avarcas!
To this day, our Avarcas are still handmade traditionally, with leather uppers and recycled tyre soles.
Petit Barcelona’s very own Barcelona-born Helios has been working in the footwear industry in Spain for more than 20 years. With the inside knowledge that the best shoe craftsmen in Menorca were the Torres family, Helios approached José Torres with his idea for a uniquely beautiful range of Avarcas, to be designed just for the Australian market. And so began an exclusive collaboration - a meeting of shoe-loving minds, hearts and souls!
Each of Petit Barcelona’s Avarcas is designed and created by Helios and Lauren together with José and his son Cristobal, and is then lovingly, slowly, handmade in Menorca, by each of Josés´children.
What began as a business meeting in Menorca in 2017 has flourished into a successful business partnership and a lifelong bond between the two families. Helios and his wife Lauren typically spend a portion of each year in Menorca designing new styles for the Australian market, while living life large at the shoemaker's family home.
Every Petit Barcelona shoe is crafted according to authenticity guidelines and is certified by the Menorcan Government as being a genuine handmade Avarca. This certification is so important in protecting the beautiful history and authenticity of handmade Spanish Avarcas. Because nobody wants an imitation Avarca!
And that, my friends, is the Avarca Story!
Come and visit us in our Camp Hill Marketplace store, or pop into our online store here, to view our gorgeous range of Avarcas… and let the love story continue!