January 5th, 2012 | By | 5,300 Comments

Billabong Surf Capsule Collection: Interview with Mandy Robinson

Announcing some retro-inspired threads from Billabong! It’s here, the Surf Capsule Collection: a line inspired by Billabong’s roots and 70’s California surf culture. We had a chance to talk to Mandy Robinson, Billabong’s Design Director, about the new collection. Read on for the full interview…

SWELL: Tell me a little about what inspired the collection?
MANDY: The collection is called Surf Capsule, Spring 2012. The throwback collection is inspired by Billabong’s 70’s roots and vintage California vibe. Traveling played a big part in this collection…getting influences from Australia brands as well as Billabong’s original roots. What came about was a line with retro screens as the base. From there we added vintage prints and a hand-stitched floral.

SWELL: So did you resurrect any throwback Billabong pieces for inspiration?
MANDY: Much of the collection was inspired by a trip to Australia, where were we able to go through the Billabong Australia archives. We found some great inspiration from old graphics and retro wetsuits: unexpected aqua neoprene, zip fronts, and circa late 70’s color blocking. We were trying to reconstruct a laid back look, with a focus on washes for a comfy feel; something you’d throw on after surf or a day at the beach: french terry, deep arm holes, and lots of layering pieces.

SWELL: Who is the collection designed for?
MANDY: It’s definitely focused for the girl with a love for the water, but who has an understanding of fashion as well. Someone who has an appreciation of vintage surf prints and loves to be comfortable (but not necessarily sporty).

SWELL: How did the experience of designing this collection compare to the rest of the Billabong Spring ‘12 line?
MANDY: It felt really natural designing the Surf Capsule Collection. It’s all styles we (myself and the design team) would personally love to wear, as surfers and water people ourselves. We felt like (by designing the collection) we were staying really true to both Billabong’s roots and ourselves. Designing for the spring season is always our favorite because of this!

SWELL: Were there any designs that you wish had made the cut?
MANDY: Not really…they’re all there!

SWELL: You sent the collection with the team to the Maldives. What was their feedback on the collection?
MANDY: They were all loving the throwback wave stamped prints (on bikinis, boardshorts, etc). And they were all obsessed with the retro wetsuits (despite the fact that they were in the Maldives!). The wave print volley boardies (Billabong Bella Boardshorts) were also a huge hit because they were great to surf in without looking too sporty. The Get Barreled and What A Stud tanks got a ton of mileage as well…with deep arm holes and a relaxed fit the girls loved layering them over bikinis. The after surf staple: the Way Way Back Hoodie and matching shorts. Other favorites: the Take Me Back backback, Pickup trucker hat, and a waterproof carryall in the same wave pattern (the Sundrenched bag).

SWELL: I see a lot of oversized and cropped cuts in the collection- is this a trend we can expect to see a lot of in spring?
MANDY: Yes! Girls are loving the shorter lengths, and starting to show a little waistline again. The fit is boxier and less fitted, but not slouchy, making it a very feminine shape.

SWELL: Favorite piece from the collection?
MANDY: I just got back from Fiji. I wore the wave print bikini (the Billabong Madison bikini) almost the entire time I was there, so if I had to chose, I’d have to say that’s my favorite from the collection!

Thanks Mandy for giving us yet another reason to LOVE this new collection. You can shop the collection here:

Photo: Mandy Robinson

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