Explore Tristan Magundayao’s HIGHER + HIGHER STUDIO as it flies in the aerial embrace of inspiration, dreams, and aspirations in the City of Angels
The City of Angels: it’s where sun-kissed streets pave the way for ideals to unfold, cultural diversity dances in harmony with the rhythm of creativity, and fantastical dreams intersect with urbanite reality. Tristan Magundayao, the creative behind HIGHER + HIGHER STUDIO, has crafted an inspirational journey that resonates far beyond the city’s skyline. The designer invites us into his world, a world where passion, determination, and a dash of Filipino creativity converge to shape the global narrative of fashion.
The eclectic palette of city chic
Los Angeles, sprawling with possibilities, became the backdrop to Magundayao’s journey. “The city is a major hub for the fashion industry in the United States. It’s known for its diverse and vibrant fashion scene, including a strong presence in areas like streetwear, high fashion, and sustainable fashion.” From the vibrant streets of Hollywood to the combination of sleek architecture and laid-back charm of downtown LA, every element of the city converges, contributing to a mosaic of influences that define the brand‘s eclectic and dynamic identity.
Magundayao’s fervor for art, architecture, and pop culture casts an influence that initiates with an appreciation for inspiration sourced from the everyday—whether it’s a leisurely stroll through the city’s eclectic neighborhoods, a curated shopping excursion, or the quiet contemplation found in nature’s embrace. “You will see different scenarios that will catch your attention and inspire you to create,” he affirms, encapsulating the essence of a process that transforms observations into the creative clouds.
From navigating the retail realm as a store manager in a women’s boutique chain to ascending as the visionary Creative Director of HIGHER + HIGHER STUDIO, the designer’s path mirrors the dynamic cityscape—a sculpture where styles echo the lines of iconic buildings and sculptures scattered across LA.
The new now
The ethos of HIGHER + HIGHER STUDIO includes a vision that aligns with Magundayao’s unique personal style—a creative fusion where streetwear effortlessly intertwines with sophistication and everyday basics are elevated to the realm of artistry through meticulous detailing. The clothing doesn’t harken back to anything—no nostalgia, no reach, no pandering. It instead narrates a story of the contemporary, capturing the zeitgeist of the present moment.
“Working hard is evident to us Filipinos, but sticking to your core, following your heart, having a ton load of patience, and being humble would be the best advice I can give.”Tristan Magundayao
What distinguishes HIGHER + HIGHER STUDIO from the fashion mainstream is the manifestation of a distinctive design aesthetic that echoes Magundayao’s own creative essence, where streetwear and sophistication blur. Yet, it’s not this crossover of genres that sets this brand apart; it’s the astute presentation with a perspective by the millennial generation, the architects of the “new now.”
Breath of fresh threads
In a landscape increasingly shaped by the imperative of sustainability in fashion, HIGHER + HIGHER STUDIO stands as a vanguard, adopting a conscientious approach that exceeds the transient allure of fast fashion. The brand’s commitment to sustainability is not just a nod, but also a foundational principle, marked by a conscious stride to eliminate a significant carbon footprint. “We are not fast-fashion and not mass-produced.”
Magundayao emphasizes not only the brand’s ethos, but also the tangible steps taken towards sustainability. The heartbeat of HIGHER + HIGHER STUDIO pulses with intentionality, consciously steering away from the complicated ephemeral. “Creating well-made, durable clothing that lasts longer can be more sustainable than producing cheap, disposable fashion items.” It’s a stance against the environmental toll, a declaration that every creation carries the weight of responsibility, and each stitch is a step towards a greener future. The brand’s commitment to ethical practices extends to the collaboration with family-owned cut-and-sew manufacturing, a deliberate choice that aligns with fair labor practices. “In this way, we can also maintain the exclusivity of each style.”
In the digital wake
The digital fashion landscape often is a transformative tide, and HIGHER + HIGHER STUDIO emerges not just as a participant but as a navigator, adept at steering through the currents of change. The significance of this adaptability is a proactive stance, an acknowledgment that in the digital era, evolution isn’t a luxury, but a necessity.
At the heart of this evolution lies a commitment to staying digitally connected with the audience. Magundayao articulates the brand’s unwavering dedication to a consistent social media presence, recognizing it as more than a marketing strategy. “We should always be open for changes, [be] adaptable for new ways, and [to] never stop learning.” It’s a lifeline, an ongoing dialogue that transcends physical boundaries, fostering a community where fashion enthusiasts and brand advocates converge in the virtual sphere.
Further and further
The wings of collaboration of each partnership buoy an ascent that shapes and elevates his creative work. One memorable stopover is the brand’s presence in a Filipino-American-owned store lodged in airy Hollywood. Justin Navarra, the designer and creative director of Sergiovelin and TwentyBeyond, contributed a unique float to Magundayao’s brand’s growth—the participation in LA Fashion Week, produced by F/Row, another Filipino-American-owned by Errol Isip and JL Rabelas. This goes to show that the Filipino mafia is alive and well in Los Angeles.
His dreams take form, an expansion into gender-neutral silhouettes and accessories—a deliberate stride towards inclusivity, embracing the diverse spectrum of identities. While the dream of establishing a physical presence in Manila flutters, Magundayao’s vision stretches far beyond geographical borders. Recognizing the brand’s international clientele, he foresees growth on a global scale, a journey that mirrors the soaring flight of a balloon carried by the winds of worldwide appreciation.
Tristan Magundayao’s HIGHER + HIGHER STUDIO is not tethered to the ground—it’s airborne. It’s an aerial exploration, a voyage that stays high above the mundane, reaching for the boundless sky of creative possibilities. It’s an international Filipino brand that doesn’t just unfold on the ground; it soars, buoyant and free, like a balloon ascending higher and higher.