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Claire Oring

Billabong surfer Lindsay Perry models a Claire Oring T-shirt design.

Swimwear designers don't usually look at Victorian fairytales for graphic inspiration. Yet in a move past the traditional artist collaboration, Billabong teamed up with LA-based artist and photographer Claire Oring, who's known for her fantasy-inspired illustrations and photos, to create pieces for their Spring 2013 collection, released in early April.

Claire Oring

Oring's pieces reflect her beach upbringing.

Oring designed all the graphics, as well as shot and styled the look book. She says she was involved in the whole process, which is rare. "Billabong took a chance on a young artist," she offers. "Not many companies do that and I'm very grateful they did. Putting my imagination to work and getting to deliver the pieces with my aesthetic touch made me real giddy."

It's the second time Billabong and Oring have teamed up. Last year she contributed illustrations and photos of her hometown of Manhattan Beach, Calif., to a line of T-shirts. This year Billabong decided to let her step up and gave her more creative control of the collaboration.

Twenty-three-year-old Oring drew on her childhood at the beach for the new collection. "I usually get inspiration from fairytales, mythology, folklore and classical paintings," she says. "Finding inspiration for this collection was way simpler. I visited a few different beaches with a sketchpad and camera and started experimenting." The graphics reflect that combination of old-school whimsy and beach lifestyle.

Oring says her favorite piece in the collection is a reflection of her art and her personal style. "I like the Venn diagram of the (girl(mermaid)fish). It's equal parts whimsical and nerdy. If I had to pick a self-portrait in shirt form, that would be it."

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