Designer Platform Not Just a Label Expands to LA, Plans Outreach Initiative With City of LA
Not Just a Label (NJAL), the emerging designer platform launched in London in 2008, has expanded to the United States with the opening of a Los Angeles office by NJAL founder Stefan Siegel.
Siegel, who serves as chief executive officer of the company, describes the organization as LinkedIn for designers. The company currently has a curated community of 24,000 designers from 150 countries and receives 600 daily requests from stylists and retailers, according to Siegel.
There’s no fee for designers, who receive brand development and business support as well as promotion, education and mentorship on everything from public relations and marketing to manufacturing support and legal advice.
NJAL works with cities and government agencies on special programs, such as the strategic partnership the organization struck with the Dubai Design District (d3) earlier this year. NJAL will promote d3 regionally and internationally through editorial, digital and networking projects. NJAL also provides customized data reports and access to test markets. For example, when Swedish washing-machine manufacturer Electrolux wanted to test a new machine that uses low water and no detergent, the company turned to NJAL. Currently the machines are being tested in the studios of 20 NJAL designers.
“We bring people together,” Siegel said.
Two recent events held last year in the U.S. convinced Siegel to open a U.S. branch.
NJAL and the Council of Fashion Designers of America called a meeting last fall in Los Angeles where local designers discussed ways to support the local industry. Shortly after, Siegel’s organization hosted the NJAL | Made in NY pop-up at the Waldorf Astoria in New York in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Made in NY initiative. The pop-up featured 100 New York–based emerging designers as well as a series of workshops and panels.
Siegel decided to open in Los Angeles because of the city’s position as a manufacturing center.
“Designers and garment manufacturers grow up in one world,” he said. “California brands’ identities are attached to that.”
Siegel wants to promote Los Angeles as a hub for sustainable manufacturing, not just for the domestic designer but for the international design community as well.
“The U.S. is now the strongest market for NJAL, and establishing a permanent presence within the American fashion system was a clear next step,” Siegel said in an NJAL statement. “Fashion remains the most under-appreciated industry in LA despite the fact it is a field with global reach and potential. With a thriving art scene, a powerhouse of retail momentum and a GDP of more than $825 billion, LA is a growing force in the global fashion network. We will aim to challenge the existing structure of the system through education and strategy to solve hurdles emerging talents face, forging designs of innovation and sustainability, and connecting local American fashion industries with our global community.”
NJAL has been meeting with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, which launched the “Make It in LA” initiative in June. The initiative seeks to connect the manufacturing “ecosystem,” including designers, suppliers and manufacturers working together to create products using local resources.
“The city of Los Angeles always embraces efforts to increase the potential of its fashion and apparel-industry ecosystem,” said Garcetti in a statement. “Not Just a Label will play an important role in the effort to shift from fast fashion to sustainability; it will be an excellent destination for people to experience fashion and its impact through its workshops led by industry leaders, educators and influencers.”
NJAL plans to next host an event in December in Los Angeles to connect designers and manufacturers. For more information about NJAL, visit www.notjustalabel.com.