A Brit-born online powerhouse plans to disrupt fashion in L.A.
Not Just a Label founder and CEO Stefan Siegel, photographed in West Hollywood at the Chateau Marmont.
Not Just a Label’s founder and CEO, Stefan Siegel, is a fashionista for the future. The Tyrol-born online style impresario is bringing his pioneering fashion label from East London west to LA. With a bang. “The US is now the strongest market for NJAL, and establishing a permanent presence within the American fashion system was a clear next step,” says Siegel.
The 38-year-old knows a thing or two about global business. Founded in 2008, NJAL today represents more than 24,000 emerging designers from the UK and Ukraine to Uruguay and the UAE. Not to mention the USA. Fostering future fashion superstars by helping them gain exposure and finance their progression independently, Siegel’s brainchild already has a red-carpet following of celebrities and tastemakers who seek out the latest designers and trends that can’t be found anywhere else.
Here in LA, which has an unmatched manufacturing legacy and a forward-thinking fashion buyer, even the Mayor sees the boon. “Not Just a Label will play an important role in the effort to shift from fast fashion to sustainability,” says Mayor Eric Garcetti. “It will be an excellent destination for people to experience fashion and its impact.” Of the growing number of talented homegrown Angeleno designers in NJAL’s cutting-edge style stable, four of the most fashion-forward from the company’s “Black Sheep” collection are red-carpet-ready-to-go this spring: Breelayne Carter, Olya Kosterina, Phlemuns (aka James Flemons), and Valerj Pobega. Lights, camera… fashion!
Why LA (as opposed to NY)? I grew up in Malibu Canyon, so it just made sense. I studied briefly at Pratt, in Brooklyn, but the lifestyle was brutal—too much stimulus! LA has a focus on being conscious of the environment, and we approach our companies as more of a lifestyle—there’s an ease and flexibility to it.
What’s new for spring? Spring is about not being afraid to be you. There is an elegant take on athleisure throughout. I’m obsessed with our crêpe-back satin track suits: a must-have.
This being Oscars time, what celebrity would you love to dress? Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, or Emma Watson! But there are many women I respect in the Industry, especially since acting is my other love.
Style is… To roll out of bed, throw on a jacket with some jeans, and be totally killing it. I don’t like to try too hard.
Favorite secret place to hang out in LA: Honestly, my house in Los Feliz—but if I go out for a bite, Croft Alley (my friend’s hidden gem on Melrose).
What’s next? We’re searching for how to be even more environmentally conscious. Currently we plant a tree for every purchase made in association with the National Forest Foundation. We are also expanding with a wider range of accessories!
I love LA because… There is always something new and exciting waiting for you tomorrow. And everything just works so well— things are done on time and with love.
What’s new for spring? I’m expanding into new denim horizons with fresh finishes and silhouettes—like Japanese selvage denim, or a denim gown fully distressed to its bones.
Style vs. fashion If all people who had style, in its classic meaning, were dictating fashion—the world would definitely be better dressed.
With unlimited resources, what would you do? Open a creative center where craftsmen, young and old, work together to promote professions that are losing popularity—tailoring, embroidery, etc. A place to explore old and new techniques. All under one big roof. Also a shelter for homeless animals in my hometown of Yaroslavl, Russia!
Which Hollywood celebrity would you like to see do a fashion makeover? Scarlett Johansson! She’s gorgeous and I would love to work on a new look for her.
What’s the future of fashion? Going back to appreciate the luxury of unique pieces that no one else owns and which highlight individuality.
What LA artists do you follow? Many! But my favorites are my husband, Mattia Biagi, [as well as] Ed Ruscha and Vanessa Beecroft.
How does LA differ from the rest of the fashion world? In the last five years, a lot of people from New York and Europe have moved to the city—it’s changed the urban landscape and the way we dress. It’s created a unique fusion of styles.
If you hadn’t done fashion, what other career would you have chosen? Music! It’s been my main inspiration when creating my work—maybe that’s why I’ve attracted my main clients from the music industry!
What’s next? Constantly improving and researching new techniques to keep my work fashion-forward and unique!
How has Hollywood influenced you? Being in LA, surrounded by celebrity culture, has definitely gotten our brand exposure—and gotten my clothes on celebrity bodies!
What’s new for spring? I’m getting into statement hats and track pants—a little fun for casual dressing.
What’s your favorite “secret” place in LA? Cactus Taqueria on Vine Street off of Santa Monica, in Hollywood. It’s my favorite Mexican food in the entire city.
What do you find sexy? I think having a good sense of humor, not taking yourself too seriously. Living for comic relief is very sexy.
How important is social media in your life? Without it, struggling, emerging brands like mine would have no outlet for exposure.
What’s the future of fashion? People are starting to want to go back to artistry, longevity. And a bit more [of an] upbeat expression with clothes—dressing “loud” but not necessarily with color and prints. Just more eclectic.