MEET | NJAL
Carly Vidal Wallace, Creative Community Curator, Not Just A Label (NJAL)
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR INDUSTRY BACKGROUND AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO NJAL?
Brisbane born I was raised in a second-generation family business in the textile and manufacturing industry; in 2014 I was inspired to build a bigger community in Qld specifically for our fashion design community. This saw me working with the Australian Fashion Council on various projects where in 2015 I built the annual event Brisbane Fashion Month, running over 30 stand-alone events giving Qld designers a place to showcase, learn and network. After selling this business and moving to Los Angeles it has been a great career goal to work with Not Just a Label where on a world-wide scale I help emerging designers succeed in taking their fashion label to a global community. In all the roles which I have held, fashion editor, event manager and now curator I am passionate about aiding new fashion labels in the market.
WHAT IS NJAL? HOW DID IT START?
Not Just a Label (NJAL) is the world’s leading designer platform for showcasing and nurturing today’s pioneers in contemporary fashion. Representing over 30,000 designers from more than 150 countries, NJAL reflects the modern face of fashion and supports thriving artists also outside of the major fashion capitals. NJAL gives designers a platform where they can connect with a global audience and showcase their designs from anywhere in the world.
Set up by Stefan Siegel in 2008 to infuse new life into the fashion system, (NJAL) quickly became an indispensable tool for the industry; combating hurdles emerging talents face, helping them to gain exposure and finance their progression independently by providing an easily accessible network and retailing forum.
The platform is set up to allow designers to create a free profile where they can link their contact details, website, Instagram feed, fashion films and most importantly the latest collections to be visible in the worlds most used designer search website. Being part of the NJAL community also gives designers a chance to be part of the NJAL global events when they occur from pop-up stores to large scale activations.
Images | New York, Dubai & LA pop-ups & activation events
WHO IS NJAL FOR? HOW CAN AUSTRALIAN LABELS GET INVOLVED?
Not Just a Label is for any fashion designer who wants to showcase their collections, have their brand seen by the worlds buying, styling and journalism industries, and for those who want to feel connected to a global community of fashion designers.
Australian Labels can get involved by creating a free profile by going to the Login Page and clicking on register to create a new account: www.notjustalabel.com/login
The platform allows journalists, buyers, editors and stylists to reach out and contact designers directly with traffic of over a thousand contact messages sent each day to the community.
WHAT ARE SOME NJAL SUCCESS STORIES? WHO ARE SOME LABELS YOU’VE SEEN GROW FROM THE PLATFORM?
Sometimes we do not necessarily know the extent of the success for each designer the fact of placing a designer on our homepage, Instagram page, newsletter and Facebook means they will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people – buyers and editors included. Every week I see a copy of the emails which are sent directly through to the designers, and these in themselves are all pretty amazing, Vogue assistant editors frequent the website, stylists for A-list celebrities contacting designers directly and buyers from stores in New York / London & Paris reaching out to designers. Two recent stories however which come to mind are:
1. Carli Pearson with her label CIMONE – after having her designs visible on NJAL she was contacted to take part in the Metropolitan Museum Of Art's highly lauded "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion And The Catholic Imagination” Exhibition.
2. Cindy Zhang with her self titled brand CINDY ZHANG – after showing her designs on Not Just a Label was reached out to and dressed Lady Gaga in one of her graduate collection pieces.
WHAT IS NEXT?
Not Just A Label is always listening to the needs of our designers community so there are constantly developments, bringing the e-commerce back to the platform is a new goal we have coming up, as well as some large global events, and most exciting an information series to tap into the experts NJAL has worked with over the years from Vogue Editors to CEO’s of corporate entities to allow our designers to access the information they need to succeed.
WHAT DOES ‘AUSTRALIAN’ FASHION/STYLE/DESIGN MEAN TO YOU?
Personally speaking I love the way Australian fashion sets the tone for the next season. Where some people believe Australia is behind a season, I think we often set the pace. I love to look to see what is new and fresh first from “down under”. Australian’s are leaders in Resort which I really feel embraces the unique Australian lifestyle.
RECOMMEND 5! YOUR LOCAL TEXTILE & FASHION GO TO’S?
1. Clare Press | Vogue Australia Sustainability Editor-at-large. Her books, articles and podcasts (and if you get a chance to hear her speak live) are all so thought provocative and on point.
2. The Edge | Queensland’s most hidden resource which is open to the public (part of the State Library) allows you to rent at a small fee Sewing Machines, Soldering Irons, 3D Printers and Laser Cutters and has meeting rooms available to book for free for meetings and computers to use. You could literally start your own business with all these resources.
3. Ragtrader | I absolutely love this publication and have followed it for years both in print and online subscription and the speaking annual events. They are at the absolute forefront of all that is happening in the business of fashion in Australia.
4. Full Circle Fibres | Having met Meriel Chamberlin the owner of FCF some years ago I have watched the trials and tribulations to produce these fully Australian cotton fabrics to get them onto the market. I am so grateful to see people pushing against all odds to find solutions to help provide sustainable sourcing options for designers.
5. Grace Lillian Lee | An inspirational creative artist helping First Nations communities in remote areas tell stories through textiles and fashion design. She curates first nations catwalks / choreography and is a great example for incorporating diversity and heritage into the Australian fashion industry.
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?
Head over to the NJAL website below, and stay up to date on Facebook and Instagram via @notjustalabel!