If you think the men’s grooming explosion is a new thing, get out your Funk & Wagnall and look up Baxter of California. This brand blew up back in 1965 and was in the dopp kit of every leading man in Hollywood. Fast forward to the dawn of a new millennia for men’s grooming when Mr. Baxter Finley rang up the energetic J.P. Mastey to take over the then staid brand.
Before bringing Baxter back to life, J.P. was a buying agent for Japanese and European companies. He would attend trade shows buying and sourcing new brands. He knew he wanted to own his own brand at some point so when Baxter came about he jumped on it. “At first I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted so I just took it slow,” Mastey told us. But around 2005 he trail blazed new distribution channels like men’s lifestyle shops and barber shops. 2006-2010 saw huge growth for the company. In 2010 Mastey opened the Baxter Finley Barbershop and that brought the brand worldwide recognition and proved to be a testing ground for new products, “we get great feedback and development there,” J.P. explained.
Mastey continued differentiating the brand by collaborating with top brands around the globe including Colette in Paris, Saturdays NYC, Porter in Japan and UNIONMADE in San Francisco. As J.P. said, “We are a heritage brand and we have a real classic approach to men’s grooming. This has differentiated us from many.”
We spoke to J.P. about his Los Angeles infused personal style and here is what he had to say:
I come from a European family with a French background. My uncles would wear beautiful suits, ties, shirts and really cared about their appearance. So every time I wear a suit I wear JM Weston shoes because that is what they wore. I like a spread collar, silk ties and suits that fit well.But that is not my lifestyle. For the most part I am in jeans and khakis – a real California casual vibe.
Suits- The most beautiful ones I have are Valentino. The fabric is fantastic and the fit is great. I have some great Zegna ones too. I like them cut European with vents in the back. The French and the Italians just know how to do it better!
Ties- Hermes. I only have 3-4. I don’t have to break the bank. Quality over quantity (except for my Nike obsession).
Shirts-J.Crew has a slim cut that fits me great.
Sneakers- Nike Shoes which I have about 12 pairs of. (of which I have about 12 pairs)? I like Clark’s desert boots too. I was turned onto them back in my buying days with the Japanese. They were fanatics about these shoes and they really grew on me. So ever since I was 19 I’ve had desert boots.
Brands still mean something to me but as I get older I think about what I feel both comfortable and confident wearing. I am more confident in sneakers and jeans than a suit. Originally I was wearing ties to all of my meetings and I just didn’t feel myself. The result of shedding that image is that I come off more as myself and I feel better.
Outerwear- I got turned on to American Apparel a long time ago. When I find a tee shirt that fits me well I will buy piles of them. Their long sleeve thermal is perfect for me as are their zip up hoodies. Their down vests are a favorite for when it is chilly in LA. I’ll wear a peacoat when it gets a bit chilly here.
Sunglasses- I like the new RayBans.
Watches- I am a big watch fan. I love classic brands so I wear a Rolex. I didn’t wear one until I could afford to buy the watch I wanted. There is something about heritage brands I gravitate to. I will never buy a Tesla, it’s BMW, Mercedes or nothing!
Favorite piece of tech: iPhone – it’s attached to my hand
Recently downloaded App: not many. I tend to use my laptop or iMac to research and surf – but I do love Get Human and Google maps.
Next tech purchase: I do a lot of design work so am I excited to get the new Mac Pro in December – the tower is beautiful.
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