above: the homepage of NOT JUST A LABEL (NJAL)
all images courtesy of NJAL
NOT JUST A LABEL, a global showroom and network for emerging avant-garde fashion designers and the fashion industry, which launched in April 2008, will be opening its online shop starting May 28th. I was impressed with the offerings available for the next crop of fashion talent: young designers can post lookbooks and video content for buyers and media; peruse job listings, information about fashion schools and interviews with fellow designers.
Although any designer can apply for free membership to the site, founder Stefan Siegel explains the website's loose "quality control" guidelines: "We only accept avant-garde designers who have shown less than five to six collections and don’t have a chain of flagship stores in place," he says. "Meaning we don’t accept large brands, and we want sophisticated designs (i.e. no simple t-shirt designs)."
The new online shop will offer limited edition items from new and established NJAL members, culled by a selection committee in collaboration with leading fashion figures, such as Robin Schulié of Maria Luisa and Unit F, the Austrian Association for Contemporary Fashion this month and Diane Pernet of A Shaded View on Fashion starting in July. "We are accepting submissions from all NJAL brands, starting-out or established," Siegel says of the anticipated monthly process. "On a monthly basis a new key industry figure will be asked to join us in the selection process, resulting in a different monthly collection."
While NJAL began with a focus on a few schools and markets such as London, Antwerp, Paris and Berlin, word of mouth and press, Siegel says, have attracted visitors and members from the US, Asia and South America. As for future plans for the site, Siegel says coyly that the next phase will involve more hands-on work with its designers: "NOT JUST A LABEL will carefully select young designers from its talent pool who have the potential to grow and offer a unique 360 degree service and support... I wish I could say more!"
Sound intriguing? Check out some sneak peeks of designs available in the shop starting as early as next week...
above: Schipper Arques
above: Jiwon Jahng
above: Anuschka Hoevener