Natalie “Alabama” Chanin is owner and designer of the American couture line Alabama Chanin and author of Alabama Stitch Book (STC – February 2008) and Alabama Studio Style (STC - February 2010). Her designs for hand-sewn garments constructed using quilting and stitching techniques from the rural south have been lauded for both their beauty and sustainability. Made from 100% Certified Organic Cotton combined with up-cycled and re-purposed materials by artisans located near Natalie’s home in Florence, Alabama, her designs have earned accolades from peers as a finalist for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion in 2005 and as a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2009.
Natalie’s work in the fashion industry began in the year 1988 in the New York City fashion district working in the Junior Sportswear industry. From New York, Natalie moved to Europe in 1990 where she worked for ten years as a stylist and costume designer for film and photography.
However, Natalie’s life work began in the year 2000 with the invention of Project Alabama. Natalie returned to her home in Florence, Alabama to produce a collection of 200 one-of-a-kind, up-cycled t-shirts, along with the 22-minute documentary film “Stitch” - about old-time quilting circles in her community. Project Alabama grew quickly and became a full collection fashion company, added business partners, lost business partners, all the while earning respect from editors and stores around the world.
In the year 2006, Project Alabama ceased operations in the state of Alabama. Rather than choosing to outsource, Natalie made the decision to adhere to the original mission of Project Alabama and launched Alabama Chanin where she continues to create limited-edition, rendered-by-hand, jewelry, clothing, home furnishing and textiles using a mixture of organic and recycled materials with local talent. Based on the thought that good design should be a part of everyday living, Alabama Chanin gives modern context to techniques that have been passed down through generations of women and men.
The artisans who work with Alabama Chanin represent this generational span. Stitchers aged in their early 20s work alongside those in their late 70s, producing garments in the spirit of the traditional quilting bee. Each collection emphasizes quality, detail, craftsmanship, and style while each piece is a labor of love signed by the artisan who hand-stitched every seam.
Natalie has a Degree in Environmental Design from North Carolina State University and works simultaneously as designer, manufacturer, stylist, filmmaker, mother, artisan, cook and collector of stories from her home in Florence, Alabama.