Cocktail being made at cafe del mar

Cafe del Mar & Privata: A Very Balearic Story

Let’s talk about fashion. Specifically, I want to talk about a clothing brand called Privata.

Fashion is a funny old game. Have you ever wondered how trends become trendy? Why is it that last year skinny jeans are in, but the by the next season boot cut is everywhere?  For a while, I entertained the conspiracy theory that companies got together like the Illuminati to collude together about how to maximize sales of denim.  Maybe that’s true.  Why are we even talking about this? I’ll tell you. Privata. They are the clothing company that makes the shirts we wear at Cafe del Mar, so they’re great blog-friendly content!

As an extranjero, I was unfamiliar with the company when first wearing the shirt. However, I am also inordinately impressed by the quality of the materials used. Throughout our careers, waiters have become accustomed to being shoe-horned into polo shirts of synthetic fabric, so to be clad in a sturdy, lightweight cotton shirt is actually pretty refreshing.  Still, the question remains: Who are Privata?

These sorts of questions tend to keep me up at night, so I have put my investigator’s hat on and I am going online in search for answers. Sure, I could ask my Spanish colleagues, but I already bombard them enough with questions about local wildlife, Spanish grammar and where to find good Hierbas. And so, down the rabbit hole of international fashion we go.

privata vintage 1

Did you know that the major fashion labels now employ multinational companies who are solely focused on predicting trends?  The opinion of a select few kingmakers influence the minds of Dior, Dolce and Gabbana and the other elites. Naturally, this filters down to what will hit the high street sometime after the catwalks premiere the new look.

How do you even begin to get that job?

So there is, apparently, a fairly elite section of the fashion world who watch trends, employ sociological analysts and pay attention to oil prices and other obscure data points, and use this knowledge to produce books on style for the forthcoming year.

This book is then bought at a price in the multiple thousands of dollars, turned into seminars on which shapes, fabrics, and colors will be popular, and voila. Lagerfeld’s show looks a little like DKNY’s, and for a little while, we all follow the same basic trends. Even if this is as simple as whether a bare midriff is in or out.

irene privata

IBIZA …

Then we come to Ibiza. The original bucker and starter of trends. Ibiza has her own style. There are the ubiquitous white outfits for when you’re particularly Moda Ibiza, but the fashion does not there.  From the beaches of Bossa to the San Joan set to the Sunset Strip, the varied fashions of world citizens combines and amalgamates into Ibiza chic. Even the West End has a signature look. Spot for yourselves, the slightly early 90s looking neon shorts on pretty much every young guy this year. privata vintage train workers

So, against this background of a globe-spanning fashion machine, you can imagine my shock when I found almost nothing online about Privata, at all. Their website is simple, they have a list of their stockists (exclusively in Spain and Andorra) and a social media presence that takes pride in being unobtrusive.

 

It turns out that Privata has been making clothes for over forty years, but have eschewed listening to the advice of the industry at large. Almost on purpose. I  see why Cafe del Mar choose them.  Many moons ago, when we were all much younger, Privata developed a technique that had gone out of fashion during the post-war prosperous years. There is a technique for recycling raw and used materials like wool into finer fabrics. But, that is another story. A story that begins at the dawn of the 20th Century, and fades during the intervening years as it becomes cheaper to produce synthetic fabric.

Still with me? OK.

It appears that in the early 70s, when our older relatives were about to discover the horrors of velour and lycra, Privata broke with fashion ideas entirely to make nautically inspired clothing from natural fabrics. Forward thinking indeed, when we consider that twenty years after Privata began, we British folk were wearing shell suits. privata vintage fishermen

It seems to me that Privata and Cafe del Mar have the same sort of mentality. It didn’t matter to Privata what other fashion labels were doing, and it still doesn’t matter. Privata are themselves, with their own identity. I wouldn’t hesitate to say the same about Cafe del Mar (though I am obviously biased!)

Privata take inspiration from their surroundings. Like the founders of Cafe del Mar in 1980 take inspiration from the sunsets of Calo des Moro. Like this, the architect Lluis Güell interpreted the island of Ibiza into the styling of the original cafe.

Privata country

The ideas of Privata are as true today as they were in 1973. Interpret the natural world around us, the sea, the countryside, and provide practical, stylish clothing that exudes timeless cool.  They also keep your servers at Cafe del Mar happy!

Find Privata’s full range on their website, or through their Facebook Page.

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