Not your typical surf brand and bikini-only runway show, the Billabong Design for Humanity main attraction attaches itself to themes. In this case, iconic musicians from Hendrix to Joplin and lots of 70s.

Story and Photos by Kathleen Gasperini and Tom Wallace

Now in its 5th year, the annual Billabong Design for Humanity event drew the best of surf industry leaders and athletes, musicians, and fashion players together for an exciting multi-faceted show including fundraising for the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, dedicated to bringing and keeping music programs in public schools.

More than $100,000 was raised for the cause from various sales of auctioned art from top street and fine artists, plus musician-autographed instruments from Death Cab for Cutie and the Foo Fighters, and ticket sales.

Loving the snakeskin top and leather bell bottoms. Excellent styling in this show.

Hosted at the legendary NY City backlot at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, the cool thing about this event is that you are immediately transformed into a different world, yet mixed with a beach culture vibe and scores of fashionably forward attendees.

The event is known for its stellar, one-of-a-kind fashion runway show. Not the typical show for a brand showcasing a new collection, for this event, the runway is based on stylized looks from a specific theme -usually in sync or a few steps ahead of current trends. Organized by Billabong’s design director, Mandy Robinson, the show paid homage to retro 70’s and artists’ style of the era including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and Mick Jagger, with leather snake pieces, loads of fringe, high-waisted short shorts, capes, bell-bottoms, and of course, bikinis.

The styling was very on point with snake skin jackets, crocheted pieces, bangles, oversized floppy beach hats, sheerling vests, and belts.

Very fashionable crowd which made the event even more unique and interesting.

The show was of course the highlight, but there were plenty of other options including the vast art auction which included a range of different pieces of work from artists such as Jeff Soto, Dave Kinsey, and Tara McPherson; plus a live boardshaping exhibition, live screen-printing on T-shirts with one-of-a-kind logos from Hit and Run, photo booths, and band performances such as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Other sponsors included Verizon Wireless, Skullcandy, Chipotle, and Vitamin Water.

In many ways, this event sets the bar for surf-inspired fundraisers by combining so many factors and pushing the boundaries of expectations from what one would usually expect from a surf culture brand in general . Check it out.

Surfer art. The Art auction area paired photographers with street and fine artists in many cases to create one-of-a-kind collages.

Surfboard shaping demo on site. Obvious to some, but not so to others who are not hanging out in surf zones all the time. It is clearly an art form.

Loving this vest.

End of the show, designer Mandy Robinson takes a bow with models.

Here is one of the art auction’s art and photo collage featuring Gwen Stefani.

Love this Pixie girl in the pink bikini. Long hair isn’t always the way to go.

Retro-looking suit. Fits the genre of the runway.

One of our favorite looks with the long skirt in lace, black oversized Stevie Nicks hat, and shell long necklace.

Excellent leather vest with crocheted bikini bottoms.