It is almost impossible for us to believe, but we have reached the fifth anniversary of the creation of Bldg. 14 – the manufacturing arm of Alabama Chanin. This has been one of our most collaborative enterprises and represents the elements of what our company stands for: sustainability, creativity, design innovation, promoting the living arts, providing living wages for our employees, helping others through our partnership with Nest, and bringing together our community and our business.
We selected the name Bldg. 14 because of its long history with the textile company Tee Jays, where it once bore that moniker. Tee Jay’s founder Terry Wylie created a company that became as much a family as a workplace. There was great loyalty between employers and employees, and entire families sometimes worked there for many years. In this spirit of that community-based company, we have sought to foster a sense of kinship, making it essential that our manufacturing division share the same sense of identity that Alabama Chanin holds dear.
This division of Alabama Chanin will be a key component of our ongoing Project Threadways undertaking, which will examine our local community, collecting oral histories from textile workers, asking questions about how textile manufacturing shaped us as a region, and discussing how we can provide outreach for an upcoming workforce. Our manufacturing division works to preserve that history and also shows what modern manufacturing can look like.
The Bldg. 14 team has come a long way in honing their talents, both as a group and as individual skilled artisans. We began the Core Club, which allowed more and more of our customers to become familiar with our new manufacturing style. Gradually, we have added more home items and garments, some stand-alone and others combining elements of our hand-made items. We have collaborated on projects with Patagonia, Billy Reid, Stella Ishii, Jamie + The Jones, Elizabeth Suzann, with more to come. Most recently our production group spent over a year sourcing fabrics, creating samples, and testing fits for our collection of Clean Tees.
We look back on these years as a celebration of our accomplishments—but also of our workers. They have been essential to the growth of this division and of our vision for modern manufacturing. Find out more about members of our team through our Fashion Revolution posts, highlighting the individuals who make your clothes.
Bldg. 14 was once an experiment of sorts but is now an essential part of Alabama Chanin—of who we are and who we want to be. Thanks to each of you for joining us on this journey.