The Slow Life Picks Up Speed
“'I have a little spiel I like to give about thread,' Natalie Chanin said the other day. 'The ladies laugh at me and call it my Oprah moment, but here’s how it goes: It’s called loving your thread, and it’s all about talking to the thread, coaxing it to take the path of least resistance. At the crux of it, that’s what Slow Design is all about.'
Ms. Chanin runs a company, Alabama Chanin, that sells exquisite hand-stitched garments made from old T-shirts and home goods like flea market chairs with seats woven out of Goodwill neckties. Designed by Ms. Chanin and her collaborator, Butch Anthony, and hand-made by artisans — the ladies, as she calls them — in her hometown of Florence, Ala., her products are examples of Slow Design, which is not so much a metabolic term as it is a philosophical one.
Slow means that Alabama Chanin is run on the tenets of the Slow Food movement, which essentially challenges one to use local ingredients harvested and put together in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Above all it emphasizes slowness in the creation and consumption of products as a corrective to the frenetic pace of 21st-century life. 'Good, clean and fair' is the Slow Food credo, and it has — rather slowly — begun to make its way out of the kitchen and into the rest of the house."