A shoot for Dancing Leopard styled by Liz Mendez at Pikes Hotel. Photographer: Maria Simon
Just a few years ago it was close to impossible to find stylish clothes you would dare wear to a club in Ibiza. The shops were full of drab merchandise with the same recognisable party logos. If you wanted to look cool and different you’d better have done your shopping in advance at home. And if your bag went missing en route to the island? You had the choice of either styling out the same sweaty clothes you arrived in or taking your chances in the lilo shops or the outdated boutiques in Ibiza Town.
Now the situation has noticeably changed. There are more small independent Ibiza based fashion labels popping up at popular touristic spots to sell their wares, and Ibiza town is steadily turning into a fashionista haven.
One of the main reasons for the big change is the raise of rental rates, especially in the capital. While decades-old cafes and boutiques of local produce sadly have to close down after being run by generations of the same family, international competitors are taking their place.
Just ten years ago the island's fashion scene was best known for AdLib. A shortened form of ‘Ad Libitum’, which means ‘freely’ in Latin, the AdLib style dominated Ibiza streets and beaches since the 1970’s, epitomising the freedom-loving hippie spirit. For a girl, it would most typically be a long flowing dress, for a guy - shirt and trousers, all items for both made of snow-white linen.
As soon as clubs began to turn from entertainment hubs into big businesses, AdLib started to be replaced by the cheesy clubbing merchandise that began to choke up the local shops. While fine for the tourist wanting a souvenir from their clubbing experience, these shops didn’t have much to offer the more style conscious clubber. Regardless of which club brand you bought from, the designs were more or less all the same. And almost all were moderate at best quality, bought in Asia for peanuts and sold in Ibiza for a price multiplied by dozens.
Ibiza club shopping apparel in the early 2000s
What we see now is a craving for more individuality. The nightlife fashion of Ibiza has become more diversified, more inventive, more elaborate. Every single event has its own spirit and vibe. From the black obsession that still dominates techno bastions like Music On or Hyte to the more adventurous styles seen backstage at DC10.
Stylist Liz Mendez works on the island for magazines like BMI Ibiza or clubs like Cocoon or Labyrinth. “Fashion in Ibiza is certainly on the up,” she says. “Originally notorious for its “boho look” that has been done to death, you can now see a much welcomed injection of cool up and coming independent designers breathing a breath of fresh air into Ibiza who are dressing the revellers and the locals up in style.”
Boutiques like Le Studio in Ibiza Town, N4 by Ibiza label Midnight Tales or Antonioli in the art district island, Liz says, have changed the landscape for shopping on the island. And Ibiza based labels such as The Gypset Diary, Dancing Leopard, Vali or Hannah Warner Jewellery have been developing their own identity influenced by the island’s fashion and party scene.
There is one snag, though. For girls it’s now much easier to find unique and unusual pieces. Boys, however, with the exception of a small number of boutiques such as La Collective at Babylon Beach Restaurant in Santa Eulalia, still have to fight it out with the old outdated style of Ibiza shopping. Shop owners you are missing a trick.