Joshua Tree Is a Creative Paradise — and Baja East Founder Scott Studenberg Wants You to Visit
If you hadn’t already heard of Los Angeles-based luxury brand Baja East, you probably did during the 2020 Grammy Awards when Billy Porter walked down the red carpet. The actor, who is known known for stunning, over-the-top looks, wore a blue crystal jumpsuit and matching motorized fringe hat that could cover his face or be drawn back. Scott Studenberg — the creative director and founder of Baja East — created the look, and continues to make “loose luxury” designs that combine “West Coast laid-back cool with a city street edge.”
Studenberg is inspired “completely by travel,” and Travel + Leisure got the chance to talk to him about how our world influences his designs and point of view, as well as how to dress for your next adventure. We also got the California-insider’s take on what to see and do in Joshua Tree after Studenberg spent time there shooting a lookbook for Baja East. And don’t worry, a glittery jumpsuit doesn’t have to be your forte to enjoy these tips and trips from a man of the moment.
Travel + Leisure: How do you like to dress when you travel?
Scott Studenberg: "Comfortable with layers. I’m usually in a pair of sweats, a t-shirt with matching zip hoodie tied around my waist, a jacket on top of that, my heaviest shoes to keep my luggage light, and a cashmere beanie to pull over my eyes when I’m airborne. Most importantly, I bring a pair of cozy socks to change into for ultimate mile-high vibes."
Do you have any tips for making your travel outfits stylish but functional?
"If you pack a lot of white (for the most part all I try to wear), you can layer on color and bits of black in your accessories and underpinnings and everything always goes (and you’re reflecting negative vibes at the same time — try it!). Also, bringing a matching suit of some sort is usually a good idea. I always bring a harem suit wherever I go — I can break it up for day and dinner, but have something to wear to an event if one comes up."
How does travel influence your personal style and your brand?
"Baja East in inception was inspired completely by travel — a trip I took to Thailand and Morocco sealed the deal. I bought these tunic-length Jellabas in Marrakesh, had them cut shorter into hoodies and started wearing them around tucked into sweats with sneakers. Girls and guys would ask where I got them and that’s how I came to the bi-level hoodie that I make — in everything from Wild Horse printed crepe to graphic emblazoned terry. Since Baja 2.0, I’ve been super into Joshua Tree and all those good vibes that come with it, my collection is absolutely drenched in them."
What’s the one thing you cannot travel without?
And what’s your dream trip?
"On a tropical island where my phone doesn’t work, waking up to the ocean, yoga, competitive tanning, massages, steam sessions, hot baths, and ridiculously epic food in between each of those."
And if you find yourself heading to Joshua Tree, make sure to check out Studenberg's travel guide below to see where he finds inspiration and escape in one of California’s hottest spots.
Joshua Tree National Park
“Going out there after the park closes is the best because it’s absolutely deserted and you’re surrounded by nothing but Joshua Trees — a super beautiful, grounding, and inspiring place to detox from normal.”
“As much as I love the rustic and natural Joshua Tree homes, this mirrored house we got to visit was insanely gorgeous. It was surrounded by massive boulders and backed up to the National Park. It has an oxygenated indoor pool that spanned the length of the house — no smell at all, and leaves you feeling super refreshed and invigorated.”
Acme 5 Lifestyle
“This is an amazing furniture store that just popped up in Yucca Valley. It has such a special selection of local made bohemian goods, plus imports from Morocco, Mexico, etc. I bought pillows, a hammock, a Moroccan pouf, plant baskets, and, most importantly, my brimmed hat with leather trim — obsessed."
“This is my favorite place to stop for breakfast, where the cool visitors and locals sip Kombucha. They offer a vegan version of every snack and everything on the menu is super delicious. Tarot cards are used as table markers for servers to know where you are seated when your order is ready, which adds a unique touch to the existing eclectic and stylish décor of the interior.”
“A hidden but binge-worthy record store where I found Etta James, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, [and] Peaches & Cream vinyl classics! The music and, most importantly, the record covers are full fledge collection inspirations.”
Pioneer Crossing Antiques
“Literally obsessed with this hidden antique shop. They have the best finds and I always, always stop there when I’m in town. This time around, I found this antique white porcelain monkey from Japan, a white stone buddha, and a huge white crystal.”
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