At Alabama Chanin, we practice Slow Design, which focuses on producing goods in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. The intent is to design clothing and home goods that are made from sustainable raw materials using environmentally sound methods, resulting in beautiful, healthy, and long-lasting products. We want to create connections with our customers and for Alabama Chanin pieces to be used and worn for many years, to be incorporated into the life of a customer.
Our business model and method of production is based on sustainable practices. Rather than purchase low cost materials and manufacture products quickly and cheaply, we opt for a Made-in-the-USA approach, using local, artisanal labor sources. To-date, Alabama Chanin items have been made entirely by hand, without any machine work.
With excitement, I say that we are in the process of developing a range of machine-made garments under the label A. Chanin. This new line embraces our same commitment to sustainability and local, home town manufacturing. A. Chanin is both an integral part of Alabama Chanin, and a stand-alone entity. It will offer a wider range of organic cotton products at a lower price, and ultimately further spread the word about sustainability using an avenue that is new (yet old) to us. The quality will remain high, the adherence to established principals strict.
As you may have read, our community has a very long history of textile production. The building where we now work was once a sewing, dyeing, and embroidery facility. We want to bring that industry back to Alabama and do so in a way that is both environmentally and economically sustainable. We are partnering with one of the businessmen who made this region a global manufacturing center for many years and believe the time has come to begin this undertaking.
My friend, Cathy, from Heath Ceramics always talks about the “hum” of manufacturing. That thought – that you can feel the creative energy in the air – appeals to me. I think that our ability to make and innovate is part of what made, and continues to make, our country great. These machines will not and cannot replace our hand-work; the machine line will merely augment our current hand-made collection. You may see the two disciplines work together in one garment. Think: machine-sewn organic cotton jersey dress with hand embellishments. The possibilities are endless.
One of the first seedlings for the A. Chanin machine-sewn line was my own complaint that I could not find an organic cotton t-shirt that fit me or that I wanted to wear. I thought many women might have the same problem, and the gears started turning. Looking back, it occurs to me that Alabama Chanin was, at least in some ways, started based on the fact that I just wanted a stylish t-shirt to wear. That feels like a funny, full-circle moment. We will report more as our production line develops, and look forward to hearing what you think about our new designs.
Where in Florence are you located and can visitors come by?
Congratulations on your new venture. I cannot wait to see what loveliness you will be creating next. I adore your hand made clothes. Sadly, however, they are not within my means to purchase. Lucky for me I can sew and have been able to make many lovely items for myself from the patterns in your wonderful books. I am hoping I will be able to purchase some of the new line in the future.
I had the pleasure of meeting you years ago at the Saturday Crafternoon at the NY Public Library. I was so inspired by your story and your use of recycled t shirts that I started a tiny company with a friend making clothing for children from repurposed fabrics.
Best wishes to you.
Congratulations Natalie and all! I can’t wait to see your new line and I am looking forward to wearing it. Thank you for all you are doing to bring manufacturing back to the US.
I wish you and yours all the best.
So exciting! It’s looking great!
Exposing more people to Alabama Chanin = a better world! <3
Fantastic news! So grateful for your dedication.
I hope this inspires other towns that were once manufacturing centers to come back to life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see those percentages on made in America go the other way!
Can’t wait to see what you do, Linda Gerig
I applaud this move wholeheartedly! It has long been a peeve of mine that the lovely artisan movement that has happened over the last few years has been championed as returning the US to its former domestic-production glories. The products produced by yourselves and others are so gorgeous! And so valuable for starting a dialogue and awareness about the role of cheap goods vs. “slow” goods that retain their value and support local economies…However $2600 skirts and $600 leather bags are beyond the means of most and can’t on-their-own bring back the jobs to the US. So CHEERS to you for approaching the issue of affordability and quality production– a major step and a major vision.
So exciting! I can not wait to see what’s in store. I know it will be amazing.
Fantastic! And congratulations. This is so exciting and I look forward to seeing how this new facet of your wonderful business develops. I will be watching!
Congratulations!!!! I love to read about the progress that Alabama Chanin continues to make. I love everything about your company Natalie. You are a great inspiration and leader. Thank you for all that you do and a BIG thank you to the Alabama Chanin team as well. I would really love to meet you and learn from you. Keep up the incredible work!!!!
Whatever it is you’re planning on rolling out…. I’ll take 10 of them!
Such exciting news! And, like Amber — I’ll be getting one of everything!
This is gonna be good……real good.
This is such good news for the idea of real manufacturing of quality American goods coming back to our shores. I applaud everything that you do! If you would ever like to visit Maine, I would love to host you for a workshop, a lecture, a trunk show, whatever might make you happy! You are my idol!
I am eagerly looking forward to more updates about these plans!
in the meantime, could you explain what those wooden bench-looking things are for? Do they have anything to do with stacking bundles of work next to the machines?
This is great news! I love the hand-sewn, one at a time approach and when I have time one day, I intend to make everything in your books I think I can wear. But the fact is, changing the sensibility of this country requires a larger reach and changing the economic prospects for many of our communities in the South requires actual manufacturing. The fact that you intend to do this with integrity is so important. BTW, I know of at least one boutique in North Carolina who would consider being an outlet for this kind of product.
I love this idea! I hope that the next logical step would be to include the home sewer as you always have before!
I hope that in the near future I hear that your production has begun and that you are writing a new book! I have read, reread, browsed, and sometimes memorized sections of your books. They (all of them) are well used. I have hand made several garments which I love. The use of a sewing machine to do the “utility” sewing and the addition of the beautiful hand/beading work will be amazing. I cannot wait! I wish I could work in your factory when I retire! Good luck on you great idea!
Congratulations! I cant wait to see what comes out of this factory!!! Ive followed every article i think written about you and your clothes. I own your books and i love your desire to help your community to become a productive area again. I try to buy made in america. The two lines of clothes i purchase is Fresh Product and Cut Loose. I do have a request for you to consider. Please think about making plus sizes. As we baby boomer age, our size is fitting with our name booming! We like clothes that are creative and artful. Not all this frilly puff sleeved thing that are available now. Good luck that all you do and thank for reading my comments
Looking forward to some “fast” Chanin style. My DIY garments are very satisfying to make but definitely slow. And my fingers can’t keep up with my appetite!
I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. Your thoughtfulness with regard to US production and supporting local artisans is really admirable. I wish it was more common. I have made a number of your pieces from your books and would love to buy more if it were in the budget ..so I am looking forward to other options from A. Chanin.
I am excited to see what this next phase of your production will bring. I hope to see the launch of the line in the none too distant future. I must say that the philosophy and practices of your company are inspiring and encouraged me to radically shift my perspective on my consumer habits. Your dedication, skill, passion, and accumen are wonderful to see.
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