Billabong’s Design for Humanity event over the past 5 years has been one extraordinary event, taking place in a “NYC” backlot in Paramount Studios in Hollywood featuring an array of bands, a runaway show of their upcoming collection, and a new beneficiary from art auction and ticket sales proceeds.
However the announcement of the 6th annual Design for Humanity extravaganza to take place at the same location on July 25, 2012, came as somewhat of a surprise given that not even one week ago, Billabong halted all trading and stated attempts to raise $225 million to strengthen the weakened company as it continues a more aggressive form of transformation.
Launa Inman, the recently appointed chief executive of Billabong (and former managing director of Target) said last week: “Today’s capital raising is a vital step forward for Billabong. We need to make substantial changes in our operations, but I firmly believe this company has a strong future.”
Inman replaced 20-year Billabong veteran Derek O’Neill last month in what’s become an ongoing shake-down of the company, including an estimated 140 store closures by June 2013, and a series of “redundancies” to be eliminated in the overall structure of the brand.
As we also reported in February, 2012, Billabong refused a takeover bid by the TPG Capital, an equity company, based on thinking that the price per share was being “undervalued.” It also eliminated 450 jobs.
At the same time as the potential takeover bid, Nixon announced the partial sale, or 48.5% of Nixon, to Trilantic Capital Partners for $285 million, which was one of Billabong’s key brands.
This is a time when many action sports brands are struggling and/or not realizing the marketplace of youth culture has completely changed. While there are exceptions to the rule, i.e. Volcom, Vans, and consolidations are taking place left and right, the action sports industry (apparently) is still in for a wake-up call. Surfing and surf-related brands, the behemoth in the industry, is not immune.
So how is the Billabong Design for Humanity still taking place? Perhaps the wheels were already in motion, as may be the case with sponsors such as Verizon, Sony Experia, and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Also, the charity of choice at the July 25th event has shifted from Invisible Children to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, a new foundation aimed at supporting people, organizations and institutions that are committed to a better, more sustainable future through their work to improve individual family farms, the environment, as well as youth and education programs.
The cost for tickets to the event is $30. Music includes The Joy Formidable, Imagine Dragons, Walk the Moon. and The Lumineers. And of course the highlight of the event is the Billabong catwalk featuring their 2013 bikinis and beachwear.