Baja East

By
Photography Justice Apple

Published February 19, 2015

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America is one of the few countries lacking a men’s wrap, or say, a skirt, as part of its regional costume. Fortunately, Scott Studenberg and John Targon the designers behind cult label Baja East (and purveyors of genderless ensemble dressing) are here to right history’s wrong.

Studenberg and Targon were met with rapturous applause Tuesday morning at Milk Studios upon presenting their Fall/Winter 2015 collection of cozy, full body knit jumpers, jumpsuits, and dresses for both sexes. Perhaps in reaction to the current record-low temperatures in New York City, Baja’s take on traditional Sarape blankets-cum-ponchos and capes, done in supple wool blends, seemed particularly appealing on such an unforgivingly chilly day. 

But for the all the anticipation and hype surrounding the young label, the design duo delivered a collection that renders itself seasonless (which can perhaps be attributed to the pairs’ previous experiences as sales directors at Lanvin and Céline). This is excellent news for the “buy now, wear now”-obsessed frequent traveler. The collection is endlessly interchangeable, offers the right quotient of subtle, yet meaningful visual impact with a dose of familiarity, and most importantly, street cred. It’s also the perfect wardrobe to outfit the real-life (male or female) equivalent of Janet circa “That’s the Way Love Goes,” or Diane Keaton’s Something’s Gotta Give character…if he or she lived in Williamsburg and alternated weekends in Tulum and Sag Harbor.

Just four collections in, Baja East has already established itself as one of the go-to “cool kid” labels. It’s also adored by an ever-growing cross-section of wanderlust luxury consumers in search of beach/city/country-tinged lounge- and streetwear. Billowing capes and bell-shaped trousers, and yes, skirts for men in cornflower blue silk and various knits, took center stage. Meanwhile, the extreme layering-crop tops on shirts on skirts over pants-provided a decidedly ’90s vibe. 

The overall effect was neither tricky or naff, but rather chic if only for its imminently covetable allure and for presenting a new style of dress (no pun intended). Standouts included a series of sumptuous knits in muted tones-a boxy “suit” with culottes, sleeveless hoodies, and a slim tank gown. Silk safari vests, also in gown lengths, paired with slim or draped trousers and sneakers, and petal pink striped separates were also strong. But the jumpers (and yes, you guessed it, skirts!) emblazoned with irreverent slogans such as “Junk in the Trunk” and “Baja Babe,” or with an elephant with a skateboard rolled into its trunk were the true crowd pleasers. 

Later that evening, Studenberg, Targon, and friends including Adam Selman, celebrated the collection’s success with an after-party held in the Hotel Americano’s rooftop cocktail lounge.

For more from NYFW Fall/Winter 2015, click here.