There's More To Fashion Than September
It’s an event that has crept into mass culture, becoming a spectacle of celebrity, street style, and so much more. It doesn’t matter if you are embedded in the industry or simply a consumer—you most likely know what the week is all about.
It’s a month that oftentimes seems like the mecca of fashion. A pilgrimage of fashion elites descend onto Manhattan’s west side. Fashion magazines publish massive issues that function as biblical, glossy paged texts for any and all to pour over and regurgitate back. It’s maddening. Street fashion, models, the Instagram stars take to NYC, using catwalks, avenues, and sidewalks as a runway.
The origins were practical: create a week that bolsters up American designers, giving them a way to showcase their work to the press. But the New York Fashion Week of today looks a bit different. Sure, designers get press, but it’s more of the same; big labels from opulent houses overpower any sort of emerging voice—sucking much of the oxygen from a room that was originally meant for spotlighting fresh ideas.
There’s a reason why the pieces on NJAL shift away from the runway escapades that occupy New York City two times a year. In fact, it’s simple: there’s so much more to fashion than a few chosen weeks in a seemingly meaningless month. Never shying away from our black sheep mentality, we choose to avoid the trite reports of the cyclical displays. Why? Because NJAL shows you what September doesn’t.
Not Just A Label endeavors to tell relevant and refreshing stories around fashion. From elevating designers from countries across the globe to providing a network that is rooted in the upstart energy of the design community, NJAL constantly strives to do both what’s different and what’s intrinsically needed.
But, more importantly, it’s about bringing unique and thought-provoking stories, collections, and conversations to the forefront of the discussion. It’s about capturing what’s real.
These runway shows that occupy September also open up an interesting dichotomy between two versions of the fashion experience. There are those who pay to create an experience, and others who are an experience in their own right. To actually be an experience is to fully embrace the design process, the deep love for the craft, and the tenacity needed to reshape the rules of the design world. Time and time again the black sheep within the NJAL flock prove that true expression trumps the empty, money-driven cycle. From the revolutionary use of fabric and politicized collections to imaginative photo shoots and innovative sustainable practices, there’s a lot to be missed when you just focus on September.
There’s more to fashion than September. Here are some of the real stories coming out of New York—innovative, inspiring, and individual collections and pieces from our flock.
"My work sets to establish my personal language structure and a vocabulary to speak to my audience, through a wide range of platform/ media, such as art, fashion, technology, design, etc. Recently, my main focus is to explore alternative fashion design process. By merging fashion & technology, I discovered several digital fashion design workflows which can not only generate unconventional silhouette but also reveal the relationship between virtuality and reality."
"Designer Yun started Videmus Omnia in 2016. The aim is to embrace Yun’s unique and artistic designs and to re-build the Avant-garde fashion by exploring new structure, playing with different materials, and combining new technology. To keep the creativity intact and originality limitless, the brand will focus on developing womenswear. It has to stay small and not be commercialized at the beginning stage. Yun cares about the innovation of the design, the quality of tailoring and the interacting with the customers."
"Di Gao is a womenswear Designer & Handicraftsman with an eye for innovation and perfection. She intends to change the impression of crochet techniques and handcrafts by breaking the rules of tradition. This specific piece was inspired by the traditional Chinese architecture, especially its perfect combination of decoration and function. She tried to use some traditional techniques like crochet to build the shape on the human body and produced the textile with new materials like wire to create a functional basic structure which can be flexible and stretchy with the body movement."
"Nicole Bisono has extensive experience in unusual and innovative designs by com pealing couture and technology. She is an advanced draping instructor in University of Fashion and creative pattern making. Her most recent collection involves zero waste garment, sculptural design, resistant materials, and technological processes with 3D printing, casting/molding and recycling and repurposing crystals."
"The Chikimiki collection is set to defy mundane boundaries and deliver a wardrobe that embraces individuality. Founder, Elise Dealmeida, designs magical creations for women who want to express their personal spirit to the world. As a true Manhattanite, Elise supports the neighborhood fashion community by Made in New York development and manufacturing; including the intricate hand-stitched embroideries. The collection is intended to be an emotional experience sending instant happiness to the heart. Chikimiki welcomes you into our professional playground for an enchanting style adventure."
And these designers are just scratching the surface of what’s to be explored within our community. This summer NJAL pushed forward into an entirely new chapter. We unveiled a revamped website, one that represents only the beginning of a future where our designer community will continue to flourish and thrive. With new visualizations and forums comes new opportunities, new landscapes, and new markets that are just waiting to be explored. And we cannot wait to go there with you.