If you want evidence of just how cool Mallorca is these days, look no further than the proud presence of the HQ of one of the hippest international brands on the island. Camper, based in the otherwise unfashionable town of Inca (between Palma and Alcúdia) is one of the hottest shoemakers of the past decade. Selling around three million pairs each year, and with an annual turnover of over 130 million euros, Camper has made its name with funky, chunky yet comfy and practical footwear that somehow floats above the vagaries of fashion.
The designs may be innovative and irreverent, but the company insists its success is rooted on a bedrock of quality Mallorcan shoemaking tradition. Although Camper started up in 1975, it traces its origins to a Mallorcan craftsman shoemaker, Antonio Fluxà, who journeyed to England in 1877 to learn all about the new industrial methods of shoe manufacturing, and, on his return, introduced the first mechanised production of shoes on the island. It was Antonio’s grandson Lorenzo who created Camper 30 years ago, reflecting a new and decidedly modern post-Franco philosophy of ‘freedom, comfort and creativity’.
It wasn’t until the 1990s that the international expansion of the brand began. Camper now has stores in 46 countries and has diversified into super-cool hotels (a Casa Camper, designed by Rafael Moneo) and bars (named dos palillos – based in Barcelona and Berlin).