“Whatever direction Chanin takes, she’ll always come out in the lead. The truth is that the industry is just beginning to wake up to issues this designer, a pioneer of slow fashion, has been addressing for decades.”
– Laird Borrelli-Persson for Vogue
In the year 2000, Natalie “Alabama” Chanin began her first collection—a “project” that would become Alabama Chanin. Two decades later, we celebrated Natalie’s legacy as a pioneer of sustainable design through pieces from our archives, published articles, interviews, and essays from friends and colleagues. Explore The Archives for an in-depth look at the history of Natalie’s work, and read more below for an overview of our company’s history.
Six years after Natalie’s first collection, Alabama Chanin was officially founded in 2006, and the organization began a new chapter with two employees and twenty-two sewers, many of whom had been a part of the project since its inception in 2000. A year after the founding of Alabama Chanin, the original design and production studios moved from a three-bedroom house at Lovelace Crossroads to The Factory—where it is located to this day. The space, a former textile mill, has allowed Alabama Chanin to expand operations and scale. We remain focused on local production and responsible manufacturing—designing and creating quality products from sustainably-sourced materials.
In 2008, the same year as the move, Natalie published Alabama Stitch Book. This book became the basis for the Studio Book series, The School of Making, and Project Threadways—recording, studying, and interpreting the history of our region, and beyond, through the lens of textiles and fashion. In 2014, The School of Making officially launched as the educational arm of Alabama Chanin to incorporate the best of fashion, design, and craft under one roof. Natalie’s work through The School of Making makes living arts accessible to all, ultimately supporting sustainable ideals and a community of makers.
In November 2013, Alabama Chanin officially opened its doors to the public at The Factory. The flagship location houses Alabama Chanin’s collection and The School of Making’s materials and workshop headquarters. The Factory is also home to Alabama Chanin’s design and production studios and Building 14, the manufacturing and development division of the organization.
In 2013, Building 14 was created as a natural expansion of Alabama Chanin’s hand-sewn ethos, inspired by the community’s history of T-shirt manufacturing. We produce for ourselves and also facilitate, collaborate, research, and create with a range of organizations and designers.
Alabama Chanin is an ever-evolving company, yet we are deeply rooted in our history and culture. As a multi-fold organization, our mission guides each arm, and we work together toward the same goal: creating beautiful products in sustainable ways that enrich the lives of people and planet.