FROM THE EDITOR
EDITOR'S LETTER 2019
While talking to my friends, colleagues, and clients, I couldn’t help but notice a feeling of resignation. There is no point in sweet-talking the fact that our industry has finally hit the wall. Over the years, I have been preaching for a new system, one outside of the antiquated and tired mechanics that have for so long run an industry that has grown to be the second largest polluter of our planet. An industry that couldn’t protect its youngest talent from predatory and abusive systems that were so visible to many of us.
So why does this come as a surprise? Does the bankruptcy of Barneys really surprise us? Or the fact that luxury brands have replaced design with marketing and contribute to a dumbing down of society, all with the assistance of social media and unethical labour practises?
It comes as a surprise, as we are not ready. Many of us believed in digital, in online stores, in ‘experiences,’ and more of everything we already have. On top of that, we have been reminded that our planet is in danger; our political systems are no longer serving the people, and we suddenly have been thrown into a dangerous edition of the Hunger Games. While we fight for daily survival in a world of more content, more gig-economy, and more Amazon-Prime-everything, it is hard to see how we can stop this machine.
A discussion about a new wave of fashion might therefore seem futile, but please bear with me:
Not Just A Label now counts over 42,000 designers and brands; as Founder & CEO of this phenomenal project, I am the first one to admit that the world does not need more brands. However, as irrelevant as a new coat or new sneakers might seem in comparison to fighting climate change or seeking a new political system, let’s not forget the good that young creative minds continue to bring to this world.
With every new designer signing up to NJAL comes a new voice eager to share their ideas and visions. I believe wholeheartedly that we can improve as a society if we provide these sensitive creatures called ideas an environment to blossom in. Every one of the four million different design ideas hosted on NJAL can make a difference, as much as all the art, the music, and the love that goes into rethinking what we do as humans. Some ideas are more engineered than others, some might be ground-breaking, some others might not have any meaning other than themselves. But if we want the next decade to be a better one, we better believe in our creatives and start cultivating an environment for smart, technologically advanced, and dynamic ideas to blossom.
Creativity is key for a better world—and it’s extremely powerful when paired with science and the hope of the people.
Therefore, the old fashion system is dead—but the new fashion world is now a part of a much bigger movement that will include technology, science, and disruptive systems that go beyond borders, races, and outdated stigma.
As always, I am proud and humbled by our Black Sheep army of creative minds that are scattered around the globe, not waiting for their next Instagram-streamed-inspiration, but are instead making a difference in this world. We need you now—more than ever!
To all you designers, clients, team-members, and Black Sheep: thank you for your continuous support!
Happy Holidays and here’s to a creative 2020 and beyond!
Stefan Siegel, and the NJAL Team