Runnin’ Pretty, New York City Girl: Higher + Higher Pre-Spring 2022 Lookbook, Part 1

Nikita McElroy (Elite New York) for the Higher and Higher Studio pre-spring 2022 capsule collection lookbook; photographed by Angelo Kangleon in New York, NY, on December 30, 2021; styled by Tristan Magundayao

Higher and Higher Studio (stylized as Higher + Higher Studio, or Higher + Higher) is a Los Angeles, CA-based contemporary womenswear brand founded by Filipino-American stylist/image architect Tristan Magundayao in the spring of 2020; the idea for the brand came about when Tristan, while working as a senior stylist and buyer for a premier provider of online personal styling service, found a gap in the market for women’s clothing that coupled everyday basics with fashion-forward sensibilities; “It was either one of two ends of the spectrum—the go-to basics or the out-there almost avant-garde pieces—but I couldn’t find a happy medium that combined the two,” he shares; realizing that he was in the sweetest spot imaginable to start his own brand of clothing to help tackle this void, what with his styling acumen plucked from his experiences in assembling high/low looks for various magazine editorials, and what with his extensive background in sourcing and planning, Tristan decided to cut down on his hours at work to kick-start this passion project; he began envisioning the first few pieces, scoured his hometown in the Philippines for top-notch seamstresses, flipped through his proverbial Rolodex for reliable fabric suppliers; in working out a brand identity, he brainstormed with close friends who were jewelry designers, photographers, videographers, models, etc. (this kept them busy and helped them escape the collective, seemingly inexhaustible despair brought about by the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic); in just a few months, by August of 2020, with no outside investment, Higher and Higher Studio was launched and their e-commerce site went live; they kicked it off with a few pre-fall pieces, but they were all standout styles—T-shirt shift dresses with theatrical ruching, electric pleats on mod-inspired prints, sleeveless wraparound blazers in oversize/slouchy silhouettes, a trench coat abbreviated into moto jacket length, etc.—that turned heads and drew in a rapt audience; in no time the line swelled, and the collections kept getting bigger and bigger each season; Tristan was happy that the clothes they were putting forth were exactly what he’d envisioned, “Trusty old basics with boundary-busting twists to elevate the modern woman’s wardrobe”—elevate being the operative word, since that is what the name Higher and Higher stands for in the first place; he’d wanted the brand to be viewed as a gateway from safe, everyday staples to adventurous, experimental dressing, and felt that, with the first few drops so far, they were already achieving this; but for all their nichey aspirations, the brand is also aware that they have to be approachably priced (their ideal customer is not so much the woman that spends big bucks on clothes that she’s only going to wear sporadically, but rather the woman who acknowledges that her resources are limited and prefers to have high-quality pieces to mix-and-match throughout a lifetime); they are also committed to combating fast fashion, and they do this by not assigning shelf lives to most of their items—e.g., instead of archiving, say, a jacket from a fall collection as soon as that season is over, they promote it to the permanent collection so it can be made available for many seasons to come; Tristan’s long-term goal is to have a traditional storefront (“Maybe two: one in L.A., and one in New York”), but in the short term he is hoping to start doing pop-ups; he also hopes to expand to menswear in the near future; click here to visit the Higher + Higher Studio Website and shop their collections; follow @higherhigherstudio on Instagram for outfit inspiration, and for updates on new releases and potential pop-up events

Nikita McElroy (Elite New York) for the Higher and Higher Studio pre-spring 2022 capsule collection lookbook; photographed by Angelo Kangleon in New York, NY, on December 30, 2021 (with social distancing precautions in place); styled by Tristan Magundayao

Cropped-trench slouchy jacket in fawn, logo/care symbols graphic T-shirt in smoky black, vegan leather accordion-pleat skirt in onyx, lapelless demi-overlap architectural boxy jacket in licorice, logo/care symbols graphic T-shirt in white, high/low midi-front/pleat-back hybrid skirt in mustard olive, oversize-silhouette belted wrap coat in desert sand, ruched shift dress in white, relaxed-fit button-front painter-style coverall jumpsuit in smoky black, logo canvas tote in black, all available at

This is Part 1 of the lookbook; click here to see the photos from Part 2

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