When surfing and Hollywood come together for a fling, surfing almost always wakes up with regret and revulsion. Not sure how Hollywood feels. Probably stoked.
One night a year, however, Billabong's Design For Humanity is the exception that proves the rule — a confluence of surfing, high fashion and altruism that never fails to impress. It's grown equally in prominence and decadence to the point that this year, on June 10th, the event won't be able to stay contained in a club or auditorium. It's taking to the streets.
"This year we're hosting a massive outdoor block party," says Allison Perez of Billabong Girls. "Imagine taking over two city blocks in the heart of New York City, complete with two concert stages, six bars, two bands, four DJs, an art show and auction, 15 bikini-clad models, a one-of-a-kind runway show, celebrities and much, much more."
Needless to say, the event grabs headlines far beyond the niche reaches of SURFING Magazine. Design For Humanity routinely draws attention from the likes of Nylon, the LA Times, Teen Vogue, CNN and an army of well-known bloggers from the bleeding edge of high fashion. SURFING is perennially under-dressed for the chic affair; we mostly go for the cocktails and super-models.
The work is all legit — Billabong's design team creates each bespoke swimsuit in their cut-and-sew studios, with the exception of collaboration suits they've done with Alexandra Cassiniti, Timo Weiland and Bleach Black's Valerie Kileen (we had to Google them). Later, the suits are adapted into a retail-ready collection called Billabong Runway, for the discerning bikini connoisseur. Do-gooders can get into them too, as $5.00 from each suit sold benefits DFH's designated charity for the year. Last year's beneficiary was Charity: Water, which digs wells for fresh water in developing nations. This year the project supports Invisible Children. Remember, your dollar is your vote.
Billabong's Allison Perez continues: "We're proud to be a surf brand, and feel accomplished in helping the industry break the line that used to separate fashion and surf. Like, looking at the runway shows in New York this past season, it's clear that 'fashion' has found its inspiration from 'surf.' This year's show will pay homage to our roots with very unexpected modern elements thrown in the mix."
Allison won't reveal the names of this year's models — it's a surprise! — but she promises to share a drink with us in the VIP lounge on June 10th. We surely won't stand her up, and we promise incredibly clear, sharp, close-up photos from the runway to come.