Natalie Chanin

Natalie “Alabama” Chanin is owner and designer of the American couture line Alabama Chanin and author of Alabama Stitch Book (STC – February 2008), Alabama Studio Style (STC – March 2010) and Alabama Studio Sewing + Design (STC – Spring 2012).

Articles by Natalie Chanin:

Alabama Chanin’s Natalie Chanin on Working Her Own Organic Cotton Fields

Walking the talk in sustainable fashion.

Last week, the Alabama Chanin team, along with our friends Lisa and Jimmy, took to the organic cotton field  we share with the team from Billy Reid. With rubber boots, loppers, and gloves in hand, we were there helping our organic cotton bolls survive after a long summer of drought and heat followed by excessive rain and weed growth.

We walked the rows, hoed, chopped, and pulled until the sun and heat forced us out of the field. Hard to imagine the days in Alabama heat where people were not allowed out of the field. Makes me think about how things were, how things are, and how things will be.

Natalie Chanin: Sewing for Humankind

ColumnNatalie Chanin’s bi-weekly column, Material Witness, offers a seasoned designer’s perspective on the fashion industry, textile history and what happens when love for community trumps all.

There was a time not so long ago on humanity’s calendar that sewing was not considered “women’s work,” but rather a tool for survival.
Hunter/gatherers looking for food on a cold winter’s day, some miles from their camp, might have a shoe wear through and break, and their ability to sew that shoe back together in a simple repair stitch might have meant the difference between safe return to the camp, the loss of a foot to frostbite – or an even worse fate, death.

Natalie Chanin: Punks & Pirates

ColumnNatalie Chanin’s bi-weekly column, Material Witness, offers a seasoned designer’s perspective on the fashion industry, textile history and what happens when love for community trumps all.

I never really thought much about what punks, pirates, and the Spanish Armada had to do with farmers markets or sustainable life until I saw Richard McCarthy – a pirate of the very best order – speak. He has quite an amazing story to tell, made palatable by his charming humor, an easy-to-understand presentation, and, more importantly, good work.

Natalie Chanin: Board by Board

ColumnNatalie Chanin’s bi-weekly column, Material Witness, offers a seasoned designer’s perspective on the fashion industry, textile history and what happens when love for community trumps all.

This is a conversation that played out in my head countless times this last week:
“I need to sit down and write the EcoSalon column.”
“The laundry really needs to get done.”
“I NEED to sit down and write the EcoSalon column.”
“Maybe, I should go weed the garden.”
“I NEED to SIT DOWN NOW and write the EcoSalon column.”
“There is that bird pecking around in the yard, I could go stare at it for a while.”

Natalie Chanin: Building Family

ColumnNatalie Chanin’s bi-weekly column, Material Witness, offers a seasoned designer’s perspective on the fashion industry, textile history and what happens when love for community trumps all.

Last year, Alabama Chanin was included in the Starbucks campaign: Stories are Gifts – Share. See the video below. We met some lovely new friends – Jamie, David, and Luke – who traveled to Alabama to tell our story and celebrate with us.

Natalie Chanin: A Trip of One’s Own

ColumnNatalie Chanin’s bi-weekly column, Material Witness, offers a seasoned designer’s perspective on the fashion industry, textile history and what happens when love for community trumps all.

“I can’t believe that I am doing this.” Wait. Laugh. Repeat. These were the words I kept echoing over and over again as I sat at Gate B27 in the Atlanta Airport. My girlfriend, Jennifer Venditti, is sitting across from me, looking like a vision of New York City chic. I stare at her in amazement. We are waiting to board a flight …

Natalie Chanin: From Field to Fashion

ColumnNatalie Chanin’s bi-weekly column, Material Witness, offers a seasoned designer’s perspective on the fashion industry, textile history and what happens when love for community trumps all.

I have always believed that as human beings, we are all born designers. We decorate our notebooks in grade school and our lockers in high school; we carefully select and arrange products for our first apartment, select an outfit for a special date, make a wedding dress, or prepare a nursery.  We work at our job – and whether we work in a grocery store or run a high fashion boutique, we look for ways to make our job easier, to facilitate customer experience, or just to make our desk a little more “ours.” We are born designers.

Natalie Chanin: Pound For Pound

ColumnNatalie Chanin’s bi-weekly column, Material Witness, offers a seasoned designer’s perspective on the fashion industry, textile history and what happens when love for community trumps all.

I am pissed. It doesn’t happen often, but, it does happen.
I grew up in cotton country. My mother and her sisters picked cotton every summer to make money for new school clothes, as they didn’t want to head back in “handmade.” My aunts and uncles raised this cotton. I slept under blankets made from scrap cotton that grows after the harvest has taken place – the dregs that are left over.  I made a film about cotton and rural quilting. For better or for worse, cotton is part of the vernacular of my community, my childhood, and my life. I would venture that cotton plays a large role in your life as well.