NOT JUST A LABEL (NJAL) is the leading online platform for discovering and nurturing the worldwide pioneers in contemporary fashion. According to Vogue Italia, NJAL is one of the most influential fashion websites of the future. Since its launch in 2008, the site has been enjoying rapid growth, and it now has over 21 million hits per month. We have had a chat with Creative Director Stefan Siegel, the man behind NJAL.
Why did you start NJAL?
NOT JUST A LABEL is based on an idea that came to my and my brother, Daniel’s minds when we realised that the Internet can act as a networking platform for future fashion designers and those who are ready to present and sell their collections to the world. The industry lacked such a platform; we 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 did you come up with the name of your site?
It was a long process to decide on a name that encompassed everything that we do and all the designers we represent. We finally decided on NOT JUST A LABEL because it tied in with our logo, the black sheep. We couldn’t be defined or categorized because what we were doing was so new and different. Also, I loved the abbreviation NJAL!
What is so interesting about the London fashion scene? Who do you think are promising designers in London now?
London is a great city for fashion because it is known for young talent. Designers here have access to some of the best resources, press and education. London has been a hub for creativity for a long time and people can find the refreshing young talent they are looking for here. Coming up fast is a young designer, Claudia Ligari, who has a great eye for textiles, mixing cotton, silk and PVC. Agi & Sam, a fun, vibrant and pop-culture influenced label have also been making headway. Ana Rajcevic has just finished her Masters at London College of Fashion, and her sculptural work is quite literally out of this world; each headpiece looks like it belongs on an alien.
Are there any Japanese brands that you are watching right now in particular?
Ohta is the newest label from Masataka Ohta. The delicately printed men’s and women’s wear is perfect for spring. Chika Ito is a young graduate who showed her collection at London College of Fashion’s catwalk show earlier this year. Dressed Undressed is a label based in Tokyo that plays with the duality of masculinity and femininity.
Are there any particular non-Japanese brands that you are watching right now?
Are there any ongoing projects, which you can tell us about?
The London 2012 Olympics are right around the corner. Lots of exciting things are happening, so be sure to stick with us for this summer’s events.
Please tell us a bit about online fashion media and bloggers you regularly check out?
Online is a great place to do research and discover new things. Some of my favourite places to do this include Vogue.it, Dazed Digital, but most of the time I find myself being lead in different directions to the most obscure places. That’s where you find the good stuff.
What are your three favourite places in London right now?
The Wapping Project is an amazing restaurant in an old power station.
The Aubin Cinema is an intimate theatre and a great place to watch a movie with a pleasant crowd.
A true London staple: Shoreditch House is where you can get the best views of East London’s new developments and skyscrapers, while relaxing poolside.
Stefan Siegel, a native South Tyrolean – the German speaking part of Northern Italy, kick- started his colourful career during his Economics studies when he gained experience in the fashion and media industry working for prestigious design houses and advertising agencies. After achieving his MA in International Business Administration in 2004, he joined the world of finance, working for renowned companies such as Ernst & Young and Sal. Oppenheim in Switzerland, and finally the Merrill Lynch M&A Investment Banking group in London specialising in the Consumer & Retail sector, advising publicly listed fashion powerhouses. Stefan used his gained experience to launch NOT JUST A LABEL (NJAL), an idea he had with his brother Daniel, a computer science expert. Although launching the company on a shoestring in 2008, NJAL today is the leading global platform for emerging fashion designers and ranks among the most respected websites in the fashion industry.
- (Source: fashionpost.jp)