Master shoemakers

Over a century ago artists of footwear laid the foundations of the big international brands with headquarters on the island.

Long before Mallorca was famous the world over for its crystal-clear waters, it was already internationally acclaimed for the quality of its artisanal footwear. Global brands like Camper, Lottusse, Yanko, Kollflex, Farrutx, Barrats, Carmina, Bestard or George’s, to name the most renowned, have their origin in the small artisanal workshops established by master cobblers, mainly in the area of Inca, Mallorca’s third-largest town (after Palma and Manacor), which has a long tradition of industry and craft related to shoes and other leather products.

No wonder then that Inca is known as the ‘leather capital’, or ‘leather city’. There are records of the existence of cobblers’ guilds in this town from the 15th century on, and we know that its leather goods were already highly prized by the 14th century. However, the footwear industry as such really took off in the 19th century, driven by family companies with deep historical roots. The arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century was a watershed, as it allowed the artisanal factories and workshops to transport their products for export, first within Spain and later internationally.

In the 20th century, Inca underwent significant industrial growth, and the old workshops began to be mechanised and replaced by authentic factories, always conserving the quality of the shoes and achieving a delicate balance between craft tradition and industrial production. A formula that has come down to our days.

The legacy of historic master artisans like Antoni Fluxà, who founded a shoemaking workshop in Inca in 1877, and whose descendants maintain the activity under the Lottusse brand, remains for posterity. The heritage of the mestre Fluxà also irradiates to the Camper brand, established in 1975 by his grandson Lorenzo Fluxà. Or Matías Pujadas, who opened a workshop in 1866 and whose legacy was taken up by José Albaladejo, the founder of Yanko and later of Carmina Shoemakers, with production that is totally local and artisanal.