“One thing I’ve been trying to do is to upcycle as much as I can,” Baja East’s Scott Studenberg said over Zoom. Throughout the last year, the designer’s tie-dyed sweats (currently hand-dyed in his at-home dye station), signature kaftans and overall luxe lifestyle fashion have been his bread and butter. Heading into fall, Studenberg wanted to “return to glam” and was able to do so ethically, reworking his archival and cancelled products into enticing fashions, as seen on the collection’s look book stars: Symone and Gottmik.
“I always love the ’90s in all forms, but here I really channeled old Versace ads that I’ve been obsessed with forever. Who better — for me, ‘Drag Race’ is my sport as how other people watch football and they’re star athletes, my supermodels — they’re the two I wanted to shoot for this because I knew they’d be able to bring my clothes to another level of life, in a way. Normally, I’m shooting in Joshua Tree or Malibu, because nature is so inspiring and it still is so much a part of the shoot, but I wanted to be able to focus on the details of the clothes a bit more — the prints — and not be influenced by the beautiful backdrop,” the designer stated.
In addition, as nature is a constant reference in Studenberg’s collections — fall includes Big Sur inspirations — teaming with Eddie Bauer was a no-brainer. While the duo’s first collaborative fleece fashions were released in February, Studenberg’s fall collection features even more styles that meld Baja East’s California-cool DNA with Eddie Bauer’s performance technology. For instance, there’s the signature Eddie Bauer “Skyliner” down puffers in a snow camo print in stretch velvet, snow pants and matching fleece-lined hat, and even a full Baja East logoed snowsuit.
“I did not add this feature,” Studenberg laughed over Zoom of the black-and-white snowsuit’s cheeky back feature. “This is a performance wear feature, the ass opens! Who knew? If you happen to be wearing a crystal thong, then we’ll see it!”
The look: A celebration of signature Baja East looks, sustainably reworked into new, versatile fashions.
Quote of note: “Overall I would say, I chose them [Gottmik and Symone] because I wanted to celebrate the LGBTQ community in a different way. I feel like drag queens are always either on ‘Drag Race’ competing for a crown — which, they’re all so talented, it’s unbelievable — but I wanted to show them in a fashion way,” Studenberg explained. “I worked at Lanvin for years, that’s where I learned everything about fashion, that’s how I started my brand and when I left, Alber [Elbaz] told me to go and follow my dreams. He created a family there. I guess with him passing, it’s still really surreal, it really inspired me even more to push boundaries.…That’s what he was always about: fun, fashion, not being so serious, celebrating all. I felt like, and the queens felt like, we had to push here.”
Key pieces: Signature drapey, sexy skirts, tops, dresses and suiting overdyed by hand in new pastel pinks, purples and gold (a continuation from spring); a simple stretch velvet cami dress with signature blurred, running horses artwork splashed across the silhouette — also stand out rendered abstractly in Preciosa crystals on a pair of trousers; cystal-embellished sweats and Aura crystal pajamas; a grouping of rainbow hand tie-dyed Ts for Pride. The entire Eddie Bauer x Baja East assortment, paired with Studenberg’s crushed velvet (or faux fur miniskirt) après-ski offerings.
The takeaway: Whether hitting the red carpet, spending time in the great outdoors, walking down the street or lounging at home, fall proves Studenberg’s commitment to versatile, effortless glam, for everyone, everywhere.