Alabama Chanin 2009 and 2010 Collections
In 2006, fashion designer Natalie Chanin launched Alabama Chanin in her hometown of Florence, AL, employing local artisans to create limited-edition, hand sewn garments made from organic, recycled, and new materials. The artisans purchase a sample kit of raw fabrics from the Alabama Chanin factory and then set prices for items they create, which are purchased back by Alabama Chanin. Each garment is numbered and signed by the artisan who creates it.
Textiles have long played a role in this small Alabama town, both economically and in conveying the narrative of place. Alabama Chanin preserves that narrative Florence employed thousands in local textile manufacture before the jobs were shipped overseas. The company reinvigorates the economy while keeping traditional artisan techniques and practices alive. The pieces from Alabama Chanin’s 2009 and 2010 collections are made from organic cotton with quilting, appliqué, and embroidery techniques from the Depression-era South. The garments are imbued with memory and nostalgia, representing a continuum between traditional and contemporary practice.
The company is also building a sustainable, sociallyminded business model. The denim used in a number of pieces from the 2009 collection was made in partnership with Goods of Conscience, a venture by a Catholic priest in the Bronx to employ Guatemalan and Salvadoran parishioners to dye indigo in the church’s basement. Waste is minimized by limiting production to only the number of garments ordered, and leftover fabric scraps are used for trims, bedding, and pillows. Alabama Chanin’s practice signifies a commitment to the process of making and the regeneration of traditional craft in new contexts.Location: united states