Building 14 Founded, 2013

Building 14 Founded, 2013

In 2013, Building 14 is founded as the machine-manufacturing arm of Alabama Chanin’s headquarters at The FactoryA natural expansion of Alabama Chanin’s hand-sewn ethos, the concept is inspired by the community’s history of manufacturing. Companies like local t-shirt manufacturer Tee Jays, and others, employed thousands in the northwest Alabama region throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Building 14 seeks to honor that history and community, while reintroducing machine innovation in a new and sustainable way and looking to the future of manufacturing. 

Through Building 14, Alabama Chanin manufactures their own line of machine-sewn garments that complement hand-sewn garments in the Alabama Chanin collections. Building 14 also facilitates production for other companies who wish to produce responsibly, using organic cotton. The division quickly begins working with additional designers looking for American-made, small-batch production. While constructed on sewing machines, all works are made by-hand, by individual craftswomen and men, so that each team member in Building 14 is integral to manufacturing growth

Design and manufacturing collaborations and partnerships are created with companies and designers like Patagonia, Billy Reid, Stella Ishii, Heath Ceramics, Burt’s Bees Baby, Elizabeth Suzann, Jamie + the Jones, Hotel Noelle, and Swans Island

T-shirts are manufactured and screen printed for Rosanne Cash’s The River and the Thread album, Dana Thomas’ book Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, GRAMMY-nominated artist Cedric Burnside, GRAMMY-winner Jason Isbell’s music festival Shoalsfest, and a new local charity called One to None, which aims to raise awareness of Type One Diabetes and support research.

In June of 2020, Alabama Chanin and Building 14 collaborate with basic., a Birmingham, Alabama-based brand committed to ethical design and social responsibility through their philanthropic initiatives.  The collaboration designs and produces a limited-edition Rosa Parks 7053 Tee, with 100% of the proceeds from each purchase benefiting the Equal Justice Initiative. The tee is screen printed with Rosa Parks’ prisoner number, which she holds in the iconic booking photograph after her arrest for protesting during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts of 1956. Through this collaboration, we honor one of history’s most courageous human rights champions and support the Equal Justice Initiative’s work of challenging prevailing narratives about race in America through extensive research, documentation, and educational efforts.

Explore more from Building 14’s partners Patagonia, Billy Reid, Stella Ishii, Heath Ceramics, basic., and Elizabeth Suzann

Slide 1: Photographs of Alabama Chanin’s pattern library, an early machine-sewn garment, and 100% organic cotton thread from Natalie’s application for the Alabama State Council on the Arts Design Fellowship, 2013, photograph by Abraham Rowe (Natalie was awarded her first Design Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 2005—read the entry here

Slide 2: Organic cotton belt loops for bathrobes produced for Hotel Noelle in Nashville, Tennessee and Hotel Alida in Savannah, Georgia of Tribute Portfolio Hotels, 2017, photograph by Rinne Allen

Slide 3: Alabama Chanin’s pattern library (expanding with each new collection) in Building 14, 2019, photograph by Rinne Allen

Slide 4: Bolts of 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey in the Building 14 cutting department, 2013, photograph by Angie Mosier

Slide 5: Iona Gonsalves, head of Alabama Chanin’s stenciling department, preparing to spray cut fabric before it is sewn, packaged, and shipped, 2019, photograph by Rinne Allen

Slide 6: Building 14 team member Faye Davis’ embroidered apron, 2015, photograph by Rinne Allen

Slide 7: Lightweight jersey fabric scraps rolled on Building 14’s collarette machine, used for trim on Alabama Chanin’s lightweight rib pieces (such as the Slip Dress, Tank and Essential Skirt in soft knit rib, the Essential Rib Dress, and the Rib Turtleneck), 2019, photograph by Rinne Allen

Slide 8: Union Special three-thread serger in Building 14, used to complete primary construction on Alabama Chanin’s machine sewn garments, 2016, photograph by Abraham Rowe

Slide 9: Building 14 team members Christy Clements and Luda Matmuratova constructing hand-sewn garments from Alabama Chanin’s Soften Collection in the Building 14 production department, 2020, photograph by Rinne Allen

Slide 10: Development for the screen-printed Shoals Tee in Alabama Chanin’s design studio, 2019, photograph by Rinne Allen

Slide 11: Original factory floor plan circa 1995 photographed on the building’s well-worn concrete floors, 2013, photograph by Erin Dailey, Managing Editor, Alabama Chanin Journal

Slide 12: GRAMMY-nominated blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter Cedric Burnside wearing the Building 14 T-shirt, designed and produced in collaboration with Cedric and Single Lock Records for his 2018 album Benton County Relic, photograph by Abraham Rowe