Born in Switzerland, Tanit Jeans designer Veronica Buehler was bitten by the travel bug in the late ‘70s, when she first visited the Spanish coastal holiday haven of Playa D’Aro. It was here that she first heard of the magical island of Ibiza, and as luck would have it, her boyfriend at the time just-so-happened to have friends on the white isle, so the couple decided to spend a summer season here in the early 1980s.
But as happens with so many people, one summer became a veritable lifetime of experiences, as the designer still calls Ibiza home after more than 30 years after her first visit. The years between her first summer in Ibiza, and the launch of her hot denim label six years ago were spent traveling around the world, but always returning to the island after each experience was finished.
“The first summer in Ibiza, we were making leather t-shirts, mini-skirts, shorts and ties in the Es Canar hippy markets,” she tells us. “We did really well in the summers, and this made it possible for us to spend the winters traveling – we spent a lot of time in South America back then. But eventually, I wanted to go back to my roots as a designer.”
Having developed a connection with the owner of one of Spain’s biggest denim brands, Veronica was given the opportunity to collaborate on the brand’s first store opening in Ibiza, in the heart of the port area. “We created 14 different models of jeans, and travelled to Paris, St Tropez, all over the world to see what was in fashion and to get inspiration. That’s how I first got involved in working with denim.”
A stint in LA followed, where Veronica had her own boutique on Melrose Avenue, now filled with her own exclusive designs. “Living in LA was a nice experience,” she says. “But I was living in Venice, spending an hour in the car every morning to get to the shop, and hour every night to get home – I thought, this is life in the car!” So it was bye bye to California…
Veronica’s marriage to a Chilean man saw her spend more time in South America, where she spotted a gap in the market in the jeans department. “They really only had a few brands, like Wrangler and Lee,” she says. “So I sourced fabric there, and started to sell my designs across the country.” But… as it had been for many years, Ibiza was still calling, and eventually, the pull was so strong she returned to the island with the intent to call it permanently her home.
Indulging her creative side, Veronica worked as the Artistic Director for club El Divino (now Lio) in its heyday, designing the dancer’s costumes, the club’s elaborate decoration, plus flyers and artwork for the many popular parties for four years, along with creating the first El Divino shop in Ibiza’s port. As the club began to wind down, the desire to go back to denim was strong. “I really just wanted to do my own thing again,” she says. “I really wanted to make something just for women – for Ibiza women.”
Veronica’s inspiration for Tanit – launched in 2008 – was the true ‘Ibiza girl’: the kind of girl who could arrive on the island with just one pair of denim shorts and a mini skirt, but style them and make them work in a multitude of ways, from days on the beach to glam nights in the clubs. “I wanted to make clothes for women who were conscious of what they were buying too – a pair of Tanit jeans can last for 10 years, you don’t throw them away at the end of the season.”
The brand name was inspired by freedom, dancing and truly independent women – all things veronica strongly stands for to this day. Most of the Tanit Jeans collection is made in Spain, with all the finer details such as zippers, lace embellishments and Swarovski crystal detailing done by hand here in the Ibiza studio. Each collection is extremely limited, and each piece is named after a women (of course!). “You might like the ‘Ana’ or the ‘Cinzia’,” explains Veronica. “But once it’s sold, it’s gone! Sometimes I’ll do the same model again, but in a different colour or with slight variations if they are really popular, but I like to keep it limited, so you never look the same as everybody else.”