All of us @ Alabama Chanin send a warm thank you to Penelope Green for this great article in The New York Times about the present, and future, of Slow Design as an extension of the Slow Food Movement.
After seven years of living, working, laughing, sewing and growing in this house at Lovelace Crossroads, we are moving past “The Crossroads” and on to “The Factory.” (Home to “The Original Project Alabama.”)
Our new building, originally built in 1982 for Tennessee River Mills, sits in the heart of the industrial community that was a hub of textile production from 1976 to 1994, when NAFTA was signed. That textile community hung on through the year 2002, when the last vestiges of production were sold, closed down or moved overseas.
Steven, our production manager, once worked in the very room we will be occupying.
So, it is like a sweet homecoming to move up, move beyond and to finally have room to work on fabric yardages, new collections and other upcoming projects. A flagship store will be opening in The Factory very soon.
All of our contact information remains the same, only the location has been changed to incorporate our growing family:
Alabama Chanin (at) The Factory
462 Lane Drive
Florence, Alabama 35630
We will be updating our website over the next weeks to reflect our all of our changes.
A beautifully illustrated, and clever, look at our current production system:
My dear friend Sara Martin made the most amazing presents for her yearly holiday party. Everyone at the party received their very own Paint by Number portrait, painted by Sara and her husband, Kory.
Sara shared this software with me which would be great for embroidery and needlepoint too: Paint By Numbers 2005
And here is a history of the Paint by Number phenomenon from the Smithsonian Institute: Paint by Number
Be sure to read “Every Man a Rembrandt.”
“Even the simplest wicker basket can become priceless when it is loved and cared for through the generations of a family.”
- Sister Parish
I had the opportunity to visit all the folks at Patagonia yesterday. What an amazing group of people, an amazing place, and an amazing company. From the ladies in the sewing room to their organic cafeteria, I was floored at the knowledge, care and passion that infuse their lives.
Patagonia has long been an inspiration to me because 1) it grew from an artisan/hand work base 2) they make clothes to fit the body, not clothes that you have to fit your body to 3) they make products that are designed to stand the test of time and don’t forget the fact that you can also climb mountains and swim seas in the things they make.
And aside from the fact that it is a GREAT company from the product side, it is even more outstanding from a perspective of social and ecological responsibility. The first things you see as you pull into their parking lot are the solar panels that run the offices and the playground for the daycare center.
Their mission statement could be a guideline for life:
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
The book Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman gives a really beautiful vision of where they came from and where they are going.
Be sure to visit the Footprint Chronicles to have a very serious look at manufacturing processes.
A must-read for everyone in or simply interested in the fashion industry. Dana Thomas traces the amazing origins of luxury from the mid–nineteenth century to today. Straight forward and fascinating look through the walls of a closed industry.
Built to Last by by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras is one of the very first business books I ever read. I sat down at my desk one morning and got up when I finished reading. It was at a time when I was thinking about how to turn a “project” into the kind of business I would like to own and run. It inspired me to read that often times, making the right decision for a business is about making the right choices in life.
Jim Collins also wrote another inspiring book about how to grow a business:
Our work in Alabama began with a T-shirt. Pietra Rivoli does an amazing job of defining the role this modest piece of clothing plays in today’s global economy:
And you can further explore the role of cotton in these books by Stephen Yafa: