Billabong%uFFFDs Design for Humanity took place June 10, 2010 at the Paramount Studios New York City streets area. Lots of great lighting.

Story and Photos by Kathleen Gasperini

Billabong’s Design For Humanity (DFH) event on June 10th at the Paramount backlot studios in the urban set-up of the streets of New York City combined many aspects that showcased the tremendous influence a surf brand can have on youth culture today. As many fashion runway shows over the past season have illustrated, there are many surf-inspired influences going on, from beach lifestyles to the use of neoprene and rashguard “looks” in various designs and styles. This made the swimsuit runway show at DFH of significant importance as designers, media, and industry pick-up cues from the colors, materials, and styles of Billabong’s design team showcased on stage. The difference however is that $5 from each suit sold in the collection goes towards Billabong’s chosen charity, which this year is Invisible Children -the non-profit that’s become a social movement to help stop the abduction and system around creating children soldiers in northern Uganda.

The lay-out of the event as a whole this year was quite impressive. Not only did the Paramount studio lot provide some interesting urban landscapes and lighting, but it provided a block-party feel necessary to host 2 stages, 6 bars, 4 DJ areas, several live art exhibitions and auctions, and of course the runway. Carmichael Gallery brought out some of their best work in an art auction format featuring artists such as Beejoir, Faith47, Shepard Fairey, Bumblebee, and Mark Jenkins. Hit Run was onsite in two locations creating one-of-a-kind screenprinted T-shirts, Invisible Children hosted a space featuring their films, plus memorable photography of child soldiers in Africa, including an entire rifle display, and of course, in typical LA fashion, there were several different kinds of food trucks on site including The Grilled Cheese Truck.

Stay tuned for the feature on the Billabong swimsuit runway show, but here%uFFFDs how it got started.

Little nooks and city-street staircases allowed people to get away from the music if they want to, and sit down, talk, or eat a hotdog from the Let’s Be Frank hotdog cart. And everywhere you turned there was some sort of interesting live art installation happening, including the DethKills, Damin Lujan graffiti installation, Brian Fick skate photo darkroom, Brandon Zeller’s journal project, Pat Stacy’s surf photo exhibit, and Brooke Reidt and Michael Kerschnar installation.

Obviously electroclashers Fischerspooner was a massive hit to this very dance-friendly audience, as well as Kid Sister, but DJ’s Pase Rock, Classixx, Mark Moreno, and Them Jeans rounded out the bill nicely. Other surprise sensations were The LXD: Legion of Extraordinary Dancers who kicked off the runway show.

Shots from the Invisible Children Sensory Exhibit.

100% of ticket sales to DFH went to Invisible Children, with additional percentages on all art sold, and bathing suits, which made the altruism aspects of Billabong’s event quite impressive.

Perhaps because there was a high-fashion, swimsuit runway show, the crowd included a disproportionate amount of tall, good-looking fashionistas -the kind that make you wonder whether they’re models off-duty. But the real fashion surprises came from the bathing suit and summer cover-up collection that included throwbacks to the ’80’s in terms of neon colors and use of half-shirts, among other things, but repurposed into a very modern collection: bold angles, many one-pieces, layered looks, lace, and several wetsuit-inspired styles.

Sponsors included Billabong, The Studios at Paramount, Samsung, Verizon Wireless, and Invisible Children.

Invisible Children exhibition. This area was constantly full as people wanted to check out what this non-profit was all about. The film was running in the background and they also had a rifle display showcasing what these kids are trained to fight with.

Live art installations added to the event, including this one created with the colors of the Uganda flag.

Later, the NYC lot at Paramount was packed. The lighting was very conducive to making the event memorable.

Brandon Zeller%uFFFDs journal project was intriguing as different artists drew using words to form the figures.

Hit and Run was on-site creating fresh one-of-a-kind screenprinted T-shirts.

Carmichael Gallery teamed up with DFH with several top street arts featured. They also auctioned off this amazing drum set.

The LXD–League of Extraordinary Dancers kicked-off the runway show.

This b-girl from The LXD troupe was incredible.

DJ station–hot with super-fly Macs.

Another epic live art installation.

Invisible Children merch (which reminds me of To Write Love On Her Arms merch), with the Paramount studios tower in the background.

End shot from the runway show. Stay tuned for feature story on the swimsuit fashion show posting soon.