Beautiful. Wild. Mysterious. Outrageous, yet ever so cool. There are many ways to describe Ibiza, but the word that comes up again and again when you ask those who love the White Isle to describe it is ‘magical’.
With its many different, often wildly contrasting facets that somehow fall into a perfect balance, it’s no surprise the Balearic island attracts free-spirited creative and artistic types from all over the world, many of them deciding to make Ibiza their forever home.
The island’s breathtaking natural beauty, bright colours and charismatic locals provide the perfect backdrop for a vibrant and unique fashion community, delivering not only abundant inspiration for designers to dream up new collections but also an alluring stage for photoshoots that come to life within Ibiza’s style publications.
During Tribe’s latest trip to the White Isle with Essential Ibiza our founder and editor Liv was excited to be invited along to Fashion Fusion, a weekly social for local designers and island-based fashionistas.
Hosted at Marinela Cifteli’s luxury boutique Kurru Kurru in Marina Botafoch, every Thursday sartorial creatives get together to catch up, network and exchange ideas over a glass or two of cava.
Invited into the inner fold by Dressed In Ibiza founder Ksenija Rodos, we were introduced to a community of fascinating individuals from all over the world; each with a unique story to tell, all united by their love for la Isla Blanca. Tribe quizzed them on their own fashion designs, Ibiza style tips and favourite places on the island…
Marinela Cifteli, owner and designer at Kurru Kurru
What brought you to Ibiza?
I have been here for eight years now. I studied fashion design in Miami and then moved to Ibiza. I previously lived in Germany but I couldn’t imagine going back there after Miami, where everything is more colourful.
I wanted to be somewhere that is close enough to Germany though, where part of my production is based and because I was young I thought Ibiza was the perfect match. And then I created Kurru Kurru.
How would you describe the style of your brand?
Ibiza has everything you can imagine: young girls, old ladies, naked men, the arts, music and nature. I see what the girls wear out here and that’s where I start. I make the samples here on the island and then they are produced in Stuttgart, Germany. The pieces are haute couture and all the hand detailing is made over here.
Ibiza is renowned for its bohemian style…
I don’t do that. I never wanted to go there because then I’d be like everyone else. My aesthetic is very sexy, because it’s Ibiza and people want to go out at night and stand out. But I’ve always insisted on keeping it elegant; that the designs remains classy.
What are your Ibiza style tips?
You need something that is unique. For example, my ‘after work sleeve’, which is a leather sleeve similar to a bolero jacket. If you’re wearing, say, a plain black top and you want to go clubbing without having to go home first to get changed, you can simple put it on over your top and it instantly transforms your outfit. It comes in four different colours and looks great when worn over something simple. We can also add embellishments like Swarovski stones – we can do anything.
What are the biggest trends on the island this summer?
Gold is huge at the moment. And white. It’s a similar effect to the metallic tattoos that are really popular right now; it’s great to reflect that in clothing.
How do you choose the other brands you stock at Kurru Kurru?
I’m always travelling, searching for new contacts. I represent a jewellery designer who makes incredible pieces with beetle wings. She travels to Thailand where she collects them, because the beetles drop them when they die. She then mixes them with a weaving technique for gold and she is the only one in Europe to use this technique.
What are your favourite places to hang out in Ibiza?
I would hugely recommend Coco Beach for its fantastic shows. It’s not just a standard dinner; women are suspended from the skies and serve champagne from the heavens. It’s very exciting. Live music is another huge part of the island, not just the dance music scene. There is a bar called Itaka here where gypsies meet up and jam together. And for a relaxed drink and a little entertainment after work I nip into Lio.
Jade Tucker, founder and designer at Jaydee Tucker
How would you describe your designs?
They are for women who aren’t afraid to stand out and wear something really loud and flashy! I like a print that really pops.
Where do you find inspiration?
I specialise in women’s clothing and I use a lot of African prints. I go on vacation there in the winter and buy my fabrics. I also get materials from Holland, because one of the biggest manufacturers of African fabrics is VLISCO [a Dutch fashion company]. Viktor & Rolf also worked with them for their Spring 2015 couture collection and now you see more and more people embracing the fabrics.
How did you end up in Ibiza?
I’m from Holland originally and I used to have a shop in Amsterdam which I shared with six different designers – it was called OPEN SHOP. I came to Ibiza on vacation twice, out of season, and I fell in love with the island so I bought a house out here thinking I might use it as a holiday home – but within a month I decided to move out here permanently.
In Holland, I showed at Amsterdam Fashion Week and I won the first prize in a big Dutch fashion competition called My Fashion Battle. This is my third year on the island, so I’m a still a new pea in the pod over here!
Do you have any Ibiza insider recommendation for us?
I really like the Fish Shack in Talamanca. It looks like crap but the food is amazing! And the north of the island is beautiful because it’s so untouched. You just have to drive there and explore. Take some food and drinks and you’re good.
Where can we find your designs on the island?
I’m selling my clothing here at Kurru Kurru and I also have a swimwear line made from the same fabrics which is stocked at Isla Ibiza Bonita.
Jannine Helbling, founder and designer at Jannine Helbling
What is your background?
I was born in Switzerland but I grew up here in Ibiza, so I feel more Ibicencan than Swiss. I studied fashion here but I also did a few courses in London at Central St Martins, which was really interesting. Then I worked for a fashion designer in Ibiza for a while and two years ago I decided to do my own collection.
How would you describe your brand?
It’s womenswear and last year’s designs were very simple, very clean, working with a lot of draping on the mannequin. Drapings are my signature. This year’s collection is a little more current but I kept the drapings, mixing two different techniques.
What inspires you?
The island, of course, but it’s what I feel Ibiza is and not what other people might think Ibiza is about. I love the nature, the water and the sun. I want my customers to feel comfortable, feminine and elegant.
Do you have any Ibiza fashion essentials?
A draped beach dress that you can take from day to night – simply dress it up for the evening with some jewellery. One dress, if you accessorise it right, can fit many different occasions.
What is your favourite place on the island?
I’m like a cave person; I’m always in my atelier sewing so I don’t have many tips for going out! But I think people should experience el campo, the fields, the green parts of Ibiza. Everyone always sees the beaches, but there are so many hidden beautiful places. Even I, myself, who grew up here, always discover new things when I’m driving across the island.
Ylva Jonsson, founder and designer at Kailash Stockholm
How long have you lived on the island?
For 15 years. I come from Sweden but I also lived in Goa a long time ago. Kailash was inspired by my travels in India and when I returned to Stockholm people kept telling me I should bring my creations to Ibiza. So I came over here, initially for just two weeks, and decided to stay.
How would you describe your designs?
They are inspired by goddesses and fairies, the forest in Sweden and the nature in Ibiza. White really is the perfect shade for the island, but I work with colours, too, and when I do I go for really strong hues with fluorescent beading or floral prints.
Where do you sell your designs?
I sell at two markets because they are great showrooms. I go to Las Dalias and the new market in St Joan. All the people who live on the island go there. They know me and they bring their friends, so I sell a lot through word of mouth.
But I also have clients who have been coming to me for many years and they go straight to my house, even though I live really hidden away. It’s very flattering when I have people coming over from London and New York and they are happy to see I’m still here.
Do you design ‘made to order’ too?
I only make one of each dress and for clients I know well I will take orders via email. One of them put me in touch with a friend from Sweden, who asked me to make a wedding dress combing three designs she had seen on my Facebook page. She sent me her wedding music and her measurements and told me to create anything I wanted. That was incredibly touching.
Is there a big community sense amongst designers on the island?
Fashion Fusion is a great idea because it brings some wonderful people together and we support and inspire each other. We get together and share tips on materials and photo shoots and fashion shows; it’s really nice.