Alabama 21 Year Celebration

Alabama Chanin - The Shelter Collection Collaboration, 2016

The Shelter Collection Collaboration, 2016

Erin Reitz co-founds, with friend and designer Kerry Speake, a Charleston-based shop called The Commons selling responsibly produced, American-made goods for the home. In 2015, Erin and Kerry launch a partnership with STARworks, a non-profit from Star, North Carolina, that focuses on supporting the local economy through art and craft. Their collaboration produces a tableware line that includes hand-blown glassware and wheel-thrown ceramic pieces.

After Erin joins the Alabama Chanin design team in 2016, the relationship inspires a special collaboration between The Commons and Alabama Chanin, featuring hand-blown glassware that is color blocked with white glass at the base. When the pieces are made, it is unknown how the colors will react together until the process is complete. Each piece—the glass pitchers, large 16 ounce glasses, and smaller 8-ounce glasses—is unique and one-of-a-kind. The Shelter Collection at Alabama Chanin prides itself on American-made craftsmanship. 

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Alabama Chanin - Brooks Reitz and Jack Rudy, 2015

Brooks Reitz and Jack Rudy, 2015

Brooks Reitz is the co-founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and husband of Erin Reitz, Alabama Chanin’s Design Coordinator. Natalie first met Erin through Brooks, and the two have collaborated on Alabama Chanin collections since 2016. 

Brooks created the “Backwoods Bourbon Punch” for a gathering that would be featured in Bon Appétit magazine’s October 2015 issue, hosted by Natalie and Cathy Bailey.

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Alabama Chanin - Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship, 2015

Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship, 2015

In 2016, Natalie is awarded a second Design Fellowship Award that is used to explore the creative process in artists and designers across disciplines. 

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Alabama Chanin - Maira Kalman, 2013

Maira Kalman, 2013

Maira Kalman is an author, illustrator, and visionary who is ensorcelled by the small moments and experiences that occur not during, but between, the landmarks of one's day or life. Through her unique approach to storytelling, she imbues people, objects, and mundane facets of the human condition with knowing wit and humanity. Maira has long been an inspiration, and has become a dear friend of Natalie’s since a fateful visit to The Factory for a sewing workshop. She has published over thirty books, beloved by adults, children, and everyone in between, and is a frequent contributor to publications including The New York Times and The New Yorker. 

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Alabama Chanin - Little River Sock Mill Collaboration, 2013

Little River Sock Mill Collaboration, 2013

Natalie and Alabama Chanin partner with fellow Alabamian Gina Locklear of sister brands zkano and Little River Sock Mill to create a line of Made in the USA, organic cotton socks. Little River Sock Mill is located in Fort Payne, a northern Alabama town that once held the title of Sock Capital of The World. The sock business has been in Gina’s family for three decades.

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Alabama Chanin - The Factory Store, 2013

The Factory Store, 2013

In November 2013, Alabama Chanin officially opens its doors to the local community and public at large through The Factory Store and Café. The flagship location houses Alabama Chanin’s collection, design and production studio at Building 14, The School of Making, and a Café.  Daily tours as well as frequent community events take place in the comfortable, creatively-energized interior space, which pays respect to the building and region’s history.

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Alabama Chanin - Yewande Komolafe, 2013

Yewande Komolafe, 2013

Two weeks before the opening of The Factory, recipe developer, food scientist, stylist, chef, and writer Yewande Komolafe moves to Florence to help set up and open The Factory Café. What was to be a six-week collaboration of pie and coffee, turns into a year-long adventure and lifelong friendship. Yewande’s beloved recipes remain the cornerstone of the café cuisine: Quiche, Pimento Cheese with Apples, Biscuits, House Made Granola, Lane Cake, Lemon Dressing, and a list too long to elaborate.

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Alabama Chanin - The Factory Café, 2013

The Factory Café, 2013

In 2013, The Factory Café opens with farm tables suited to family-style dining and a full chef’s kitchen with Yewande Komolafe at the helm. Over the next six years, the team at The Factory Café feeds staff, workshop guests, community members, and visitors from near and far—serving up local and sustainably sourced ingredients for weekday lunch, Saturday brunch, catering, meals to-go, and a Supper Club series. In addition to regular service, this space becomes home to Alabama Chanin’s Friends of the Café Dinner Series (entry coming soon) benefiting the Southern Foodways Alliance and a range of other organizations. 

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Alabama Chanin - The School of Making, 2013

The School of Making, 2013

In 2014, The School of Making officially launches as the educational arm of Alabama Chanin to incorporate the best of fashion, design, and craft under one roof. What began as the Studio Book Series—open-sourcing and documenting sewing techniques and processes—expands into a variety of workshops, factory experiences and tours, community engagement, DIY kits and organic materials for hand-sewn projects, and opportunities for learning. Natalie’s work through The School of Making makes living arts accessible to all consumers, ultimately supporting sustainable ideals and a community of makers.

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Alabama Chanin - Makeshift Tote Bag Project | Coming Soon, 2013

Makeshift Tote Bag Project | Coming Soon, 2013

Makeshift Tote Bag Project | Coming Soon, 2013

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