The last few weeks of red carpet coverage in glossy mags have been monochromatic to say the least, thanks to the leading ladies of Hollywood teaming up to support the Times Up initiative, which raises awareness and fights against gender inequality and discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse, while fighting for women who are trying to rise through the ranks, be heard and acknowledged safely in male dominated workplaces – not simply the film and television industry. It’s pretty powerful and important stuff – not to mention incredibly visually striking – but I can hear you wondering right about now, but what does any of that have to do with Ibiza life? It’s pretty simple really. I kept seeing the #WhyWeWearBlack hashtag flying across every single social media channel and I felt a really strong connection to it. I mean yes, OF COURSE I support the Times Up movement, I’m all for girl power and I especially believe we should be fighting for equality in every workplace, every country and every culture. Including right here in Ibiza. But I’ve got to admit, in this case, my connection to the hashtag was perhaps a little shallow. You see, every time I saw those four words flash across my screen, all I could think was… we’ve been doing that in Ibiza for years!
Yes, you guessed it I’m talking about that Ibiza ‘uniform’ of all black everything. You see it everywhere these days – it’s filtered down from the superclub dance floors and high-end restaurants to be spotted on the morning school runs, on yoga mats and every which way you look on the streets. How did something that was once considered goth become such an important part of our aesthetics and culture? I blame Carola of course. As the cult of Music On grew year on year, the ever-stylish Italians (of which Marco has legions of devoted fans) started taking inspiration from their techno god and embraced the 50 shades of black look. First, on Friday nights. But then also on Saturdays (can you imagine just how much sweating is done in the blazing sun at a Music On after party in Cova Santa during high summer with all that black? I shudder to think) and then it just kind of became the unofficial, universal techno uniform. And as with most fashion trends, once the Italians have made it cool, we all start to follow suit. Black suit, naturally.
Perhaps it was a counter culture attack on the Ibiza fashion of the early 2000s. I remember associating Ibiza style with all the colours of the rainbow (and the extensive row of vibrant silk kaftans and scarves in my wardrobe attest to this) – the brighter the better. The DC-10 dance floor was always awash with colour, feather boas and inflatables… which always made it easy to find your tribe when you came back to the dance floor after a toilet run! Things did start to get a little too over the top and then the backlash began. When you think about it, dressing all in black is easy (or some may say lazy!) and it certainly makes styling your holiday wardrobe ensembles a breeze. It’s all about your solo signature shade. Remember that Nike ad from the 80s – got any blacker? That kind of sums up the typical Ibiza look these days. It’s a combination of black leggings, black oversized tees, little black lace tops, black jeans, black scarves, black trainers or biker boots, black oversized shades, black leather handbags… you get the picture. It’s a nightmare for people like me, who co-habitate with an enormous fluffy white cat! Let me tell you, the sales of lint brushes in Ibiza have been on the rise for the past few years.
Speaking of selling, this Ibiza fashion blackout has of course made its way into the boutiques of the island. Hip Ibiza town boutique reVOLVER were the island’s earliest adopters, and have been known to dress the cool kids of techno and their army of black-clad followers ever since. That’s not to say colourful pieces aren’t still out there – there’s still a time and a place for Ibiza’s ‘other’ signature look, boho chic – it’s just that, well, they’ve been slightly overshadowed by fashion’s dark side. It truly is considered a faux pas to wear a colour to a techno party here in Ibiza these days. I know, because I once wore a red jumpsuit to Richie Hawtin’s now defunct ENTER. party at Space and was stopped on the way into the club by a security guard, who asked why I wasn’t wearing black (I’m not kidding – though he was really just acting as a concerned friend at the time – it wasn’t that serious of an offence)! I literally stuck out like a sore thumb all night long, and I felt the evil stares of disdain burning into my outfit. I was lucky to get out alive.
All jokes aside, we should spare a thought for the women of techno (and the dance music industry in general), while the Times Up movement is gaining momentum. Talk about a male dominated industry, right there. While there are indeed many super talented female DJs in the spotlight these days, the fact remains they are subject to the same sexism as many other workplaces. We see them in sexy photo shoots in magazines, something that their male counterparts would never have had to even contemplate doing – it’s ok for them simply stand around wearing black. We hear them criticised for being booked for their looks or their bodies if they happen to wear something slightly revealing or sexy (and yet why shouldn’t they be able to embrace fashion or be proud of the female form?). We (I’m embarrassed to say this includes myself) still say female DJ’ by default instead of just recognising them as another ‘DJ’. Perhaps now it’s time to call Times Up on sexism in the clubbing industry too? The problem for our amazing female DJs going for a visual show of solidarity à la Hollywood is that there’s no way they’ll stand out amongst the black-clad crowds… maybe the women of techno should take a leaf out of Luciano’s book (circa 2012) and wear pink in protest!