Image supplied: Carly Vidal Wallace
Carly Vidal Wallace has been appointed the new Creative Community Curator for Not Just A Label. In this exclusive interview, the fashion powerhouse discusses landing her dream job and what the transition has been like since leaving and selling Brisbane Fashion Month.
Congratulations on your new role as Creative Community Curator for Not Just A Label (NJAL)! What drew you to apply for this position and why are you absolutely in love with your new job?
CVW: Having worked in the fashion industry I was already an avid follower of Not Just a Label, it was purely by chance that I came across the position description and decided to apply. There were over 800 applicants and I needed to submit essay style answers to over three pages of questions related directly to the fashion industry before being asked to attend an interview.
You were the former founder of Brisbane Fashion Month and moved on from the position earlier this year. What has the transition been like?
CVW: Having built Brisbane Fashion Month remains one of the highlights of my career, moving to Los Angeles however made it impossible to continue running the 30 events, the staff, volunteers and sponsor requirements. It was the logical decision to sell the business to Laura Churchill who was my partner for many years. It is so rewarding seeing the event thriving under her lead, and having worked with Laura so closely it made the transition very easy. I worked day and night for the past four years, so it was nice to take a step back and regain some work/life balance.
Image supplied: NJAL in Dubai
What is it like working with Founder and CEO of NJAL, Stefan Siegel?
CVW: For the past 10 years Stefan has dedicated his career to building Not Just a Label which is now the world’s leading platform nurturing today’s pioneers in contemporary fashion. Working with Stefan is at times overwhelming with the massive amount of fashion industry knowledge, contacts and experience he has, and yet so insightful to learn from one of the greatest minds who has been building up the next generation of emerging fashion designers.
NJAL has just celebrated 10 years and has launched a new website that has been 2 years in the making. What does NJAL hope this new online home will do for the brand and the designers?
CVW: The goal of NJAL has never changed; it will always remain the first stop for buyers, editors and stylists to be viewing the world’s best emerging fashion designers and have the ability to reach out and contact designers directly. The new website design is now cutting edge having an Instagram feel and being so visually appealing. There are also pipeline projects with the website where we are going to be able to assist designers more by offering learning and career building opportunities thanks to the new platform.
You’re currently based in the U.S. but recently visited Australia. What did you trip entail?
CVW: It was a busy trip while I was in Australia. A highlight was talking on a panel in Sydney with Billy Blue on the topic of ethical fashion, I also spoke at Sunshine Coast University, TAFE, AICD, and QUT. A trip to Australia also isn’t complete without catching up with The Australian Fashion Council and Ragtrader. My goal more than ever is to make sure Australian designers are equally represented on Not Just a Label. I am convinced we do have some of the world’s best talent but Australians need to be thinking globally and reaching out making these connections overseas – being part of NJAL is the first step.
One of your responsibilities in your new role is to discover and attract talent from around the world. What are you looking for in a designer and how can our talented Aussie labels join the community?
CVW: As the head Curator at NJAL, there are many aspects I look into when looking for talent. Firstly, garments have to be high quality, even if it is via images I am looking for the construction and the thought /skills put into the pattern. Secondly the designs need to be unique, forward thinking, fresh and exciting. Thirdly the images provided need to be amazing quality to showcase the garments, good lighting and a creative editorial style photoshoot. I also think it is really important to have a good bio or collection description showing that the designer has really thought about who they are, why they are doing what they are doing and how they came up with the designs. It is always ideal that brands also have a social media account, I do not look at the following, more the professional look of the account (as often we will tag designers in our NJAL feed).
Image supplied: NJAL's Coralie Marabelle
Will you travel around the globe attending international fashion weeks?
CVW: I certainly am invited to attend all the global fashion weeks and depending on the work schedule is if I attend or not. I am likely attending a few shows in New York in September this year. We have had so many internal projects we have been running however, that often I can discover the new talent via social media and it saves being away from the desk for weeks at a time. I have over 400 collections uploaded to the NJAL website each week where I need to view and curate each collection and make the final decisions, so the longer I am away the more the collections are waiting.
Do you have any exciting events or collaborations coming up that you can exclusively share with our Fashion Weekly family?
CVW: We have some big activations coming up in 2018 and 2019; some exciting news for our members in our online community and new partnerships which will be great for our members. All will be announced in due time – you must follow our newsletter to stay up to date!
Would you say this is your dream job? If so, what would be your ultimate tip to landing a highly sought-after position such as this?
CVW: Working in LA in the fashion industry and helping emerging designers (which is something I have been passionate about for many years) does all equate to a dream job, also being able to learn from Stefan is priceless. My ultimate tip for landing a great job? Work hard, no one is going to come and find you; put yourself out there and dream big.