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Editor's note: Billabong did not acquire Ando & Friends, executives tell me. Instead, this is an exclusive collaboration on a new clothing collection, and Andy's art will not appear on any other brands going forward.
Billabong Collaborates with Renowned Surf Artist Andy Davis on New Clothing Collection
IRVINE, CA – (August 16, 2011) – Billabong, the world’s leading surfwear company, has partnered with heralded San Diego County surf artist Andy Davis on a new range of apparel celebrating the fun and funk of surfing’s bohemian lifestyle.
Davis has carved a popular niche in the surf world via his stylized illustrations depicting the joy and camaraderie of the surfing life, first entering the scene with his Free apparel line in the 1990s and more recently created designs under the Ando and Friends label. However, the new relationship will allow Davis to focus on his art while Billabong’s infrastructure absorbs the complexities of sales, manufacturing and distribution.
“I’m just totally stoked,” said Davis. “It’s a dream set-up as far as I’m concerned. And I’m very excited to now be able to produce a line showcasing my art that is 100% organic or recycled. That’s very important to me.”
Davis’s latest batch of designs feature a number of free-and-easy themes familiar to his legion of fans, including 1970s-influenced characters slouching stylishly through perfect tubes, idyllic tropical scenes and funky seabirds in flight. The “Ando” look has become iconic in the surf art scene in the last 15 years, appearing in innumerable magazine stories, surf movie posters, gallery exhibitions and industry auctions.
“It’s all light-hearted and fun,” said Davis in describing the vibe of his latest creations. “It’s surf-driven, but there are many other elements beyond just riding waves which make up the spirit of the surf and beach lifestyle. I try to capture that feeling in my art.”
The Andy Davis + Billabong collection will arrive in select stores in November and features 18 pieces including t-shirts, woven shirts, boardshorts and hats.
“This is the first time an outside artist has collaborated with us on a project of this sort and so far the response has been incredible,” said Rob McCarty, design director at Billabong. “Andy’s art is in a style that Billabong is not known for, and this collection will have its own clear identity. It will speak to another group of customers who are after an alternative look.”
The Andy Davis + Billabong line will only be available through surf specialty stores, and shop owners are applauding the release of the new collection. Among the believers is Dave Nash, owner of the Sun Diego retail chain.
“My buyer and I were quite disappointed to hear that the Ando and Friends brand was no more,” said Nash. “Needless to say we were more than a little excited when we looked at Billabong for spring and we saw the Andy Davis collection in the line! We will be welcoming Ando back in the store with open arms...hopefully for many seasons to come.”