Alabama Chanin – slow design and sustainability

By Kate | Women
Posted Mar 21, 2012

Alabama Chanin, the high-end fashion label we first wrote about in 2009, empowers local economies by designing and manufacturing in Florence, Alabama. It began ten years ago as a clothing line, producing hand-sewn T-shirts in New York when designer Natalie Chanin, unable to find manufacturers in New York City, decided to return home to hire local women and artisans to stitch her collection. Still there today, Alabama Chanin is a now-established cottage industry employing local seamstresses and serves as a model for others. This new short film produced by is inspiring, showing Chanin’s committment to paying a living wage in Alabama communities ravaged by unemployment.

Not just a designer and artist, Natalie Chanin is also a brilliant author. In her latest book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe, she makes her couture-quality garments accessible to us all. DIY’ers and aspiring designers can find detailed instructions for creating Alabama Chanin’s signature stitchwork, using the same patterns Alabama Chanin provides for their seamstresses, plus information on sourcing materials.

Along the way, Chanin offers tips for adding one’s own character, voice, and vision to each project. Gorgeous photographs entice even non-sewers, like me, to want to pick up a needle. You can get your copy of  Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe for $34.05 USD. Or if you live in the U.S. enter the Etsy sweepstakes for a chance to win a copy.

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