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.