A little musical (and visual) interlude for this cold and snowy Friday—listen to this newly released track from one of our studio favorites, Alabama Shakes. Along with a beautiful video designed by Mario Hugo—half of our husband and wife, New York-based design and web team, Hugo + Marie.
This take on our Long Fitted Skirt—one of my longtime favorite go-to pieces—is available for a limited time in our DIY Sewing Kit Collection through The School of Making. I own many versions of this skirt in a range of colors and wear them throughout the year, from one season to the next. The Long Fitted Skirt is fitted at the waist and flares to the hem, which has a slight train in the back.
This version is worked in our Anna’s Garden design using negative reverse appliqué with our medium-weight 100% organic cotton jersey—choose your fabric and thread color. This and all of our DIY kits can be personalized to your specific design choices and worked in any technique from our books or Swatch of the Month to embellish. Create your own version using the custom DIY kit.
View all DIY Sewing Kits and purchase your own Anna’s Garden Long Skirt kit here.
“It is scientifically impossible to leave here unsatisfied.”
-Staggs’s Customer Taylor Smith
Less than five short miles from The Factory is a diner so well known in the Shoals community, locals simply call is “Staggs”—no elaboration is necessary. It is a place where social and economic barriers are ignored or discarded; everyone eats at Staggs, from mayor to millworker.
Staggs Grocery is located in East Florence, Alabama, an area that was once proud home to a booming textile district. The same family has run the market for generations. Taylor Wylie established the business as a meat market over a century ago, but the building was destroyed by fire. It was taken over by Wylie’s son in law, Lester D. Staggs, Sr., and his brother Webb Staggs and revamped into a meat market and grocery catering to families and workers in the textile district. Lynn Staggs, who currently owns and operates Staggs with his wife Pat, took over management after the passing of his father, L.D. Staggs, Sr.
I’ve been thinking a lot about trends recently. Honestly, I’ve been thinking about them a lot—for a very long time. Quite some time ago, I read a plaque in a National Park about ecological succession that changed the way I looked at trends forever (more on this next Tuesday).
You see, ecological (or biological) succession is the process by which a community (or a business) slowly evolves over time. The opposite of trend.
And then, on the cover of the newest T Magazine’s Spring Women’s Fashion 2015—which was issued this past Sunday—there is a title that reads, “& the Post-Trend World of Fashion.”
On page 96, Deborah Needleman’s Editor’s Letter is titled, “The End of Trend.” She writes, “We live in what appears to be a post-trend fashion world — with no clear guidelines for our sartorial choices and an endless array of options. New shows and collections seem to be springing up constantly throughout the year, consumed hungrily and instantaneously around the world on a variety of platforms before the editors have even filed out the doors. So inundated are we with images that we’d be bored to tears with any single trend by the time it hit stores.”
She continues: “The solution is to rely on our own instincts, which is something that many of the women featured in this issue — musicians, writers, artists, Bjork! — have in common: an ability to filter myriad influences to create an unmistakable personal voice.”
“…an ability to filter myriad influences to create an unmistakable personal voice.”
The choice of style over trend.
The choice of your own voice over the voice of an authority.
The voice of the individual.
And so my thoughts on succession and how a collection—a style—should grow slowly over time emerge again.
Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri, and Ramin Shamshiri are Commune—an inter-disciplinary collective of artists that work in the design realm. Commune is a design firm, but they are also much more than that; they invent moods and spaces for residential clients and for public space, design graphics and branding concepts, and create products that are beautiful without being wasteful.
The Commune team is also known for creating unique spaces like the ACE Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, the ACE Hotel Downtown LA, the Standard, Farmshop, and showrooms for Heath Ceramics.
“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, February 16 – Saturday, February 21:
Monday, February 16, join us in our studio space for Third Mondays to work on your latest sewing project in the company of fellow sewers. Coffee, tea, and light breakfast will be available for purchase from The Factory Café.
Enjoy 20% off of Natalie’s Jacket, the perfect addition to your winter wardrobe, in-store and online Monday through Friday.
Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Stop by any weekday at 2:00pm for a guided tour of our space, including The Factory, the Alabama Chanin production and design studio, and Building 14.
Join us for lunch at The Factory Café this week and enjoy a new menu weekly.
Also don’t forget to take a look in our cooler—fully stocked with homemade ready-to-go items like pimento cheese and our carrot and ginger soup.
We offer freshly baked whole cakes as well. Our cakes are made from scratch, fresh from the oven. Please provide 24 hours’ notice when placing an order.
Custom catering is now available for all events and occasions. Work directly with our head chef, Zach Chanin, and the Alabama Chanin team to create a menu tailored to your needs.
Monday – Saturday, 11:00am – 2:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am but coffee and snacks are available all day.
Join us tomorrow, February 14, for Saturday Brunch at The Factory Café. This week’s Brunch features our Factory Quiche topped with a homemade puff pastry and a side of The Factory Salad, and our favorite Farm Breakfast which includes cheesy scrambled eggs and bacon.
As always, we will have selection of seasonal choices that highlight products from local and regional farms and purveyors.
View our Saturday Brunch menu here or check below.
Saturday Store Hours: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Café Hours: 11:00am – 2:00pm
The Factory Store + Café
462 Lane Drive
Florence, Alabama 35630
Call us: +1.256.760.1090 or email office (at) alabamachanin.com
There’s a peace that surrounds you when you drive through the gates at Blackberry Farm. The sense of calm grows as you settle in. It’s the kind of feeling that comes from a combination of quiet reflection and good fellowship. The Smoky Mountain setting feels almost magical, but the people at Blackberry Farm are warm, hospitable, and grounding. The 4,200-acre working farm makes an impressive effort to preserve Appalachian foods and culture; the authentic atmosphere and delicious food are enough to make even the most citified visitor feel like a native—if only for a short time.
The School of Making is firmly in place.
2015 Workshops are already in the works.
Our new collection of DIY Kits if being loved (and completed) by many.
The occasional frustration of writing a book is now replaced with the joy and pride of making something new and beautiful.
Now, we can hardly believe that the arrival of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns is just around the corner.
At almost any workplace, you can hear employees talk about their co-workers with a closeness and familiarity; after years of working alongside one another, your officemates can (in some cases) begin to feel like family. In the past, that has actually been the case here at Alabama Chanin. Studio and dye house directress Diane Hall has worked alongside her daughter—who has also been one of our artisan stitchers. Some of our other artisans have been sisters, mothers and daughters, aunts and nieces, cousins, and almost any other combination of relations. And all these years, it never occurred to me that I would have the opportunity to work with my son, Zachariah, known by everyone here as “Zach.”
The company that has become Alabama Chanin started in New York City, first in Brooklyn Heights and then at the Hotel Chelsea on 23rd street, in a borrowed apartment that was my first hand-sewing studio. The apartment was three rooms and a tiny kitchen. The front room, looking out over 23rd street, housed my bed, ironing board, and sewing center; the middle room was Zach’s. In those early days, he was enlisted to carry wet fabrics to the laundromat around the corner, keep me company on jaunts to the 26th Street Flea Market, and generally assist where needed.
I guess I should have known that he would eventually come to assist me in my design efforts. In fact, at my graduation from the School of Design at North Carolina State University, they asked Zach to stand, as he had completed most of my college education with me. He stood to a round of applause as the youngest “designer” to graduate from the program. (He is blushing as I write this…)