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Alabama Chanin Mission Page

"Chanin is among a generation of pioneering founders who were early to embed environmental and ethical values into the way they operate, and who are now looking to plan for successions that ensure those values are preserved long term.”

— Sarah Kent, Business of Fashion


An indigo fabric swatch with hand-painted gold stripe.


A model putting on the Merritt Top, an indigo-dyed waffle sweatshirt with white floral pattern.

Project Threadways is a 501(c)(3) organization that documents, studies, and interprets history, community, and power through the lens of fashion and textiles. From raw material to finished goods, we seek to understand the impact of textiles on our community, nation, and world. In partnership with Alabama Chanin and The School of Making, we connect people, places, and materials through design, making, and education—with cultural heritage, craft preservation, and creative placemaking at the core of our work.



Since the 1990s, fast fashion is at an all-time high—but so are barriers for makers in the U.S.

83K+ jobs have been lost in textiles and apparel

2 million tons of textile waste is produced every year

<1% of the global cotton supply chain is organic

Basic sewing and clothing repair skills are on the decline 



To overcome barriers to makers in the U.S. and offer an alternative to a toxic industry fueled by opaque supply chains and exploited overseas laborers, in 2023 we joined Alabama Chanin, The School of Making, and Project Threadways into a single nonprofit organization committed to the preservation of cultural heritage, craft, and creativity. We connect people, places, and materials through design, making, and education, charting a new path forward for mission-driven businesses committed to making in the U.S.

And this is just the beginning.



A 501(c)(3) nonprofit created to document, study, and interpret history, community, and power through the lens of fashion and textiles.



A brand that designs and produces textiles and fashion through commitments to sustainable design, preservation of artisan craft, organic supply chains, and local manufacturing. Now operating under Project Threadways to explore the present and future of the textiles through regional and community economic development, worker stories, alternative production methods, and organic supply chains—from seed to shelf and beyond.



The educational arm of Project Threadways which hosts workshops, conversations, and experiences that explore creativity, craft, and design through the act of making, focusing on cultural preservation, education, the DIY movement, and open-sourced supply chains. The School of Making, in collaboration with Natalie Chanin and Abrams Books, has published six books including the Studio Series, The Geometry of Hand-Sewing, and Embroidery: Threads and Stories.



Our work began in 2000, when fashion designer Natalie Chanin conducted interviews for a short documentary film, titled Stitch, and created a collection of 200 one-of-a-kind T-shirts, hand-crafted by artisans in and around the Shoals community of northwest Alabama. 

Natalie’s return to the Shoals occurred six short years after the signing of NAFTA shuttered the area’s century-old, thriving textile industry. Florence, Alabama, was once known as the “T-shirt Capital of the World.” In the 1990s, local factories that had once employed thousands closed as manufacturing was outsourced overseas—representing a tremendous loss of knowledge, culture, jobs, and local industry. 

As the U.S. outsources the design and manufacture of most clothing overseas, as factories sit empty in downtowns, and as waste accumulates on shores worldwide, this work is more urgent than ever.

“Whatever direction Chanin takes, she’ll always come out in the lead. The truth is that the industry is just beginning to wake up to issues this designer, a pioneer of slow fashion, has been addressing for decades.”

– Laird Borrelli-Persson for Vogue