The first collaboration between Billabong and Julie Sariñana, the 34-year-old Los Angeles-based fashion and lifestyle blogger of Sincerely Jules, was the most successful one in history for the Australian-born surf company’s women’s category. It’s no surprise that they’re at it again with the release of their second collection, out in the U.S., Canada and Europe on March 12 and globally on March 13.
“It’s a tough one, but we are going to continue with the launch,” said Sariñana of tomorrow’s party in L.A. celebrating the line. Events in the city are getting canceled left and right due to coronavirus concerns. “It is scary, but we also have to continue our lives and not be afraid. We just need to be cautious and smart.…I don’t want anyone to worry.”
She has reason to celebrate. With 5.5 million Instagram followers and counting, she’s a force in the world of fashion influencers. It was in 2009 that she started her blog and in 2015 that her relationship with Billabong “blossomed” after a trip to Cuba: “I was shooting their pieces in my way.”
She did something right, the brand noticed, and it paid off. The initial collaboration last year, featuring 40 pieces including swimwear, dresses, rompers and denim, sold in more than 185 retailers, “including 410 doors plus online. There was a 50 percent sell-through on billabong.com in the first week,” the brand shared. It was also displayed in pop-up shops globally including at Nordstrom, Selfridges, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.
“I think we kind of took a risk,” Sariñana, who was raised in L.A., said of the new release. “We played with a lot more colors this time and a lot more prints. It’s a mix between tomboy meets surfer, skater girl with a touch of femininity. I thought that was unexpected and cool and fun and still felt very me. I’m excited to see what people think, because it’s completely different from the first one.”
She described the first collection as “minimal, more dreamy, soft, feminine.” With this second launch, which has 51 pieces and a similar price range ($35.95 for accessories to $119.95 for sportswear), she wants to empower women and help them feel confident to wear bold colors, she shared.
“I’m Mexican so colors are important,” she added. The campaign was shot by Jimmy and Jesse Marble in the vibrant streets of Colombia. “Always bringing in an element of where I come from, Mexico, my country, my roots, is really important to me no matter what I’m doing. It’s authentic to me. Having a lot of bold colors that I grew up with in Mexico, I wanted to sprinkle in this collection….You can really see that it’s very vibrant, bold, fun. It will make you feel happy and will hopefully inspire you to do things that you love with people that you love.”
What does she attribute her success to? “I always want to make sure the price points are super accessible so that everyone can feel that they could afford it, be a part of it, take something with them, and I think that’s what people really enjoy. Obviously mixing in [high-end labels] is aspirational, and of course I do that, but when it comes to collaborating and designing, I always make sure it’s affordable.
“It is hard, because it’s a sea of girls doing what I’m doing, so I can see how it can be hard to stand out, and it is difficult to stay on top of it,” she continued. “But for me, it’s always been about staying true to who I am and really sticking to that, really following my heart, as cliché as it sounds.”
Next, she’s interested tapping into new categories, beauty and home, she said. She’s also ready to start a family in a year or two with her husband: “Who knows? Maybe there’s a baby chapter coming soon.”