While the term “slow fashion” and its scarier, more complicated term, “ethical fashion” haven’t yet made it into mainstream vocabulary, the term and the movement is gaining ground. And yet
I sometimes get the impression that people think slow fashion
is all about cheap cotton and smelly linen, the kind of clothing
you see in food coops and health food stores.
Let me tell you about NJAL, Not Just A Label. NJAL is a London-based organization, founded in 2008, that connects small, independent designers directly with consumers. While its main focus is commerce (it was the first ecommerce site to allow shoppers to buy directly from designers), it’s so much more. British newspaper, The Independent, called NJAL…
“The world’s leading online platform for new designer talent.”
NJAL is an organization that walks its talk in terms of locally-produced, sustainable and slow fashion. It’s political in the sense that it’s willing to go to places not usually considered “fashion capitals” to support designers: places like Eastern Europe, Lebanon, and Ukraine. NJAL has launched the career of designers like Mary Katrantzou and is supported by people like Vivienne Westwood and Lady Gaga.
I became acquainted with NJAL when I went to their holiday pop-up shop at the Waldorf Astoria and purchased this dress.
The dress is Arkins,
designed by Germaine DeNigris
and available here.
It’s a grey wool blend Mandarin dress, and it cost me $79. It’s also available in a silk blend, and I wish I owned that one, too. The dress feels like heaven. No smelly linen here.
If it wasn’t for NJAL I would not have found this designer and dress. On NJAL’s site you can buy everything from an oversized cashmere coat to a pleated denim skirt, as well as some of the best bucket bags I’ve seen. You can see some outrageous things, but you’ll see far more simply wonderful things. Best of all, I think, is that up to 70% of your purchase price will go to the designer.
Read about NJAL and their events, learn about emerging designers, and check out the NJAL shop.
What do you think of the dress?
Photos: Paul Morejon