NJAL, the world’s leading designer platform for showcasing today’s pioneers in contemporary fashion.
Set up in 2008 to infuse new life into fashion, NJAL was quick to become an indispensable tool for the industry; helping designers gain exposure and finance their progression independently by providing an easily accessible retailing forum via its online shop.
NJAL is a creative hub with a red carpet following setting trends and perpetuating innovation, an infinitely expanding destination devoted to facilitating growth in the fashion industry.
C.L.A.S.S. interviewed Mariel Reed, but since there was a curiosity to know each other better by both sides, the same Mariel interviewed Giusy Bettoni for the NJAL web-site.
In short, an interesting exchange of views… to read both!
Ph. Sarah Slutsky
What drove you to create Not Just a Label?
M.R.: «NOT JUST A LABEL is based on an idea that came to Stefan Siegel and his brother Daniel’s minds when they realised that the Internet could act as a networking platform for future fashion designers and those who were ready to present and sell their collections to the world. The industry lacked such a platform; they wanted recruiting and trend scouting for fashion designers to be carried out on NJAL without geographical limits… literally a global showcase. There is also a strong business aspect within NJAL’s idea, support for grassroots talents across creative industries these days is crucial and by helping to develop thousands of brands we have a strong impact on the future of the industry and the way it works.»
How is it started? How is it today?
M.R.: «When NJAL started almost four years ago, the site caught on quickly. Young talents and graduates like Mary Katrantzou, Peter Jensen and Damir Doma were among the first to sign up. Since then, the site has grown immensely. We now have designers in 98 countries and represent close to 8,500 hand-picked brands, and have become a truly global showcase to support young designers kick start their careers.»
What services do you offer?
M.R.: «Along with providing a free-of-cost digital space where designers can present their latest works to a limitless audience, NJAL also provides a retailing platform. Here designers have the opportunity to market their collections to an eager and extremely receptive client base. Nowhere else in the world can shoppers find the incredible, one-of-a-kind garments like what you can find on NJAL. We have returning customers who trust NJAL as the go-to for supporting young designers and providing the world with truly avant-garde fashion.
NJAL also offers a helping hand, whether its coaching or consulting, NJAL’s team offers its support to designer who need a little extra in terms of the business side of owning a label. Whether we do workshops, lectures or one-to-one communication, our goal is to make sure our designers are receiving the best possible direction.»
What is your relationship with the “responsible” innovation?
M.R.: «At NJAL, we believe in producing and consuming sustainably. We believe in combating fast fashion and revaluing garments. By that I mean readjusting the not only the monetary value of a piece of clothing but also the personal value. Our relationship with responsible innovation goes beyond promoting ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly design practices by reaching out to the consumer and connecting them to their purchase. Because NJAL supports young designers, our customers are invited into the design process; they create a relationship with the garment as well as the designer. We encourage consumers to think about their purchases–make investments, to take their time and purchase what is right for them, not right for the moment.»
What is your relationship with C.L.A.S.S.?
M.R.: «NJAL is a fan of C.L.A.S.S.! We love how you are changing the way the industry thinks about sustainability. We think it is important to show the world that sustainable clothing can be fashionable. With your materials and our designers, we can change the fashion industry together.»
Why would a designer should be part of Not Just A Label?
M.R.: «NJAL is a gateway to an international stage. An emerging designer can showcase their designs and sell pieces from their collections through our platform. NJAL is dedicated to young designers who may need an entry into the marketplace. Not only is it free-of-cost; NJAL is also an amazing reference to see what is going on in the fashion industry and to be connected with press, stylists and buyers.»
Interview by Laura Molteni