Alabama Chanin was born over two decades ago with just three employees. From the beginning, we were committed to a few central ideals, among them the importance of producing ethically and responsibly and the value of community.
- Share our commitment to good, clean, and fair work and life
- In passionate pursuit to design, responsibly produce, and sell products and experiences that enrich life, community, and planet
- Give service that makes people happy
- Show love and care in all our action
- Enrich as many lives as possible
- Provide abundant fiscal rewards to ourselves and our community
In the year 2000, Natalie “Alabama” Chanin began her first collection—a “project” that would become Alabama Chanin. 21 years later, we celebrate Natalie’s legacy as a pioneer of sustainable design through pieces from our archives, published articles, interviews, and essays from friends and colleagues. Explore our 21 Years Celebration here for an in-depth look at the history of Natalie’s work and read more below for an overview of our company’s history.
Five years after Natalie’s first collection, Alabama Chanin was officially founded in 2006, and the organization began a new chapter with two employees and twenty-two sewers, many of whom had been a part of the project since its inception in 2000. A year after the founding of Alabama Chanin, the original design and production studios moved from a three-bedroom house at Lovelace Crossroads to The Factory in northwest Alabama. Located in the Florence Lauderdale Industrial Park, the space, a former textile mill, has allowed Alabama Chanin to expand operations and scale. We remain focused on local production and responsible manufacturing—designing and creating quality products from sustainably sourced materials.
In 2008, the same year as the move, Natalie published Alabama Stitch Book. The handmade book became the basis for the Studio Book series, The School of Making, and Project Threadways—recording and documenting handwork techniques and the living arts. In 2014, The School of Making officially launched as the educational arm of Alabama Chanin to incorporate the best of fashion, design, and craft under one roof. Natalie’s work through The School of Making makes living arts accessible to all consumers, ultimately supporting sustainable ideals and a community of makers.
In November 2013, Alabama Chanin officially opened its doors to the local community and public at large through The Factory. The flagship location houses Alabama Chanin’s collection and The School of Making’s materials and workshop headquarters. The Factory is also home to Alabama Chanin’s design and production studios and Building 14, the machine-sewn manufacturing division.
In 2013, Building 14 was created as a natural expansion of Alabama Chanin’s hand-sewn ethos, and the concept was inspired by the community’s history of manufacturing. We use the breadth of our production to manufacture for ourselves and also facilitate collaboration and work with a range of other designers who believe in community, sustainable supply chains, and quality production.
Natalie founded the non-profit Project Threadways in 2019 to further explore, study, and record the history of textiles as material culture. The purpose is to understand the impact of textiles and their creation, from raw material to finished goods, on the local community, and then connect that to the region, the nation, and across the world.
Alabama Chanin is an ever-evolving company, yet we are deeply rooted in our history and culture. As a multi-fold organization, our mission guides each arm, and we work together toward the same goal: creating beautiful products in sustainable ways that enrich our lives and the lives of others.
- Quality products
- Impeccable service
- A great place to shop and eat
- Solid profits
- A great place to work
- Strong relationships
- A place to learn
- An active part of our community
Hierarchy of Systems
- Quality (to make, do, and be the very best that we can)
- Team (to work in a way that creates a strong, unified team within the organization and a positive working environment)
- Organic (adhering as closely as possible to certified organic standards)
- Local/Regional/Domestic (when all things are equal, purchase and use resources as close to home as possible)
- Design/Aesthetic/Purpose (to be designed and manufactured in the most purposeful and beautiful way)
- Price/Financial (to be affordable and also to benefit Alabama Chanin in the best possible way)
- Community (to be a benefit for the larger community in our region and around the globe)
- Press (alignment with a product or an organization lends to creating and/or strengthening our role in any of the previous seven items)