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Malibu pair blends fashion and music with style

Estel Day (left) and Mark Tango display one of their favorite pieces, a versatile black silk gown, in their Malibu showroom. Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Estel Day sifts through fashion pieces in the Mark and Estel Malibu showroom.
Pictured is the tag of a Mark and Estel fashion piece. Photos by Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
12:59 pm PDT May 27, 2014

“Should we do this?”

That was the message Estel Day sent Mark Tango on the social networking site, Friendster, in 2004. He lived in Los Angeles, she lived in New York and the pair hadn’t spoken in years. 

“Yup,” was the reply she received. 

The brief exchange was enough for Day to immediately jump on a plane and move back to Los Angeles, where she and Tango would begin work on the “this” they had been dreaming of since they met; the Malibu-based fashion design and music duo, Mark and Estel.

“From the beginning we shared the same vision,” Tango said. 

“We’re kindred spirits, but we’re different in a way that goes together,” Day said. “I’ve never had to explain myself to him, the understanding has always been there.”

Ten years later, the duo have paved a unique path in the fashion and music worlds, having created both high fashion collections for each season and more casual knitwear lines which they design from their Pacific Coast Highway studio and showroom. But, according to Day and Tango, every collection starts with the music.

“We start with the sounds,” Tango said. “The concept or the mood of each collection comes from the music. We wanted to create wearable expressions of it.”

“The pieces are married with the music,” Day said. 

It’s no surprise that Day and Tango’s music plays such an integral part in their professional collaboration. Tango had been a professional musician for many years when Day first spotted him playing guitar on stage at The Mint in Los Angeles. Day, herself, is a FIDM graduate who had worked on numerous music projects both by herself and with Tango before they created Mark and Estel. 

“We’re equally both music and fashion artists,” Day said. “ We really wanted to put everything under one umbrella and create something new and different; something that would allow us to express ourselves artistically.”

In addition to following the non-conventional path of fashion mixed with music, the duo broke the mold of many Los Angeles-based designers, whose showrooms are located in densely populated urban areas like Hollywood or downtown, by placing their studio in the heart of Malibu.

Day, a third-generation Malibu resident, believes that defining factor has served the pair well over the last decade.

“It was a very conscious decision to be located in Malibu; we wanted to stick to our roots,” Day said. “Malibu is just a pool of creativity and art and is such an inspiring environment to design in.”

 While the pair has their strongest client base in Malibu, they also boast clients all over the world. Altogether, Day and Tango’s designs sell in 300 locations across the globe. 

Their pieces include items “that can be worn on the red carpet or at the beach,” according to Day. The signature Mark and Estel rocker style carries its influence into all the collections, which feature bold reds, stark whites and classic blacks in a litany of fabrics, from leather to tweed. 

All of the Mark and Estel collections are 100 percent made in the United States, a fact which the duo take pride in and have found to be a sought-after commodity in the fashion world. 

“We’ve had clients from around the world who come to us looking for items made in the USA,” Tango said. “We think it’s funny that we’re exporting to China, when it’s usually the other way around.”

Recently Day and Tango have added runway shows to their list of achievements, appearing in the 2014 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. And, just like everything else they do, the Mark and Estel brand brings something different to the stage; a live performance of their own music after the models have finished their walks.  

“The more people that can have fun with what we’re doing, the happier we are,” Tango said. 

“The concept of our lines is the same concept as our songs,” Day said. “It’s comfortable and beautiful, elegant yet edgy. Our music and our clothes are very much about being yourself and not being shy to express that. There’s a sense of freedom. That’s very Malibu inspired.”

For more information on Mark and Estel, visit www.markandestel.us.com.