The Archives

Alabama Chanin - Jennifer Venditti, 2003

Jennifer Venditti, 2003

Natalie meets Jennifer Venditti in 2001 during the early days of Jennifer’s now-renowned casting agency, JV8 INC. At the same time, Jennifer, along with Mollie R. Stern, run M.R.S., a clothing company that began in the Chelsea Hotel, in the same apartment where Natalie was developing her own hand-sewn t-shirts. M.R.S utilizes knit fabrics that include hand-stitched details, and the three often joke that there’s a ghost in the 4th floor room which urges all occupants to hand-sew.  Jennifer and JV8 INC work with Natalie on Prom Night @ The Bowling Alley, and the two begin a decades-long friendship that...

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Alabama Chanin - Studio Job Collaboration, 2004

Studio Job Collaboration, 2004

Antwerp-based designers, Job Smeets, and Dutch artist, Nynke Tynagel, of Studio Job collaborate with Natalie to create a stencil pattern inspired by the integration of urban and rural life.

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Alabama Chanin - Fernando Sanchez Collaboration, 2003

Fernando Sanchez Collaboration, 2003

Natalie’s business partner introduces her to American design legend Fernando Sanchez in New York City. The two comb his archives for his most beloved styles that he feels will translate to the company’s use of cotton jersey.  The chosen patterns are transformed to be cut from upcycled cotton jersey t-shirts—the core of Project Alabama’s work. Embroidered and embellished by the Alabama artisans, additional one-of-a-kind pieces are created using scraps from the Fernando Sanchez design and production studio.  This becomes one of the most beautiful collaborations to date. The Fernando Skirt—still included in the collection 21 years later—is photographed on Shalom...

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Alabama Chanin - Bloomers, 2003

Bloomers, 2003

The Bloomers stencil is one of Alabama Chanin’s earliest and most iconic stencil designs. Inspired by a pair of antique French lace bloomers, the stencil design debuts in the Spring/Summer 2003 collection. Stenciled onto coats, dresses, skirts, and eventually bandanas, the design is used as an “audition piece” for the artisans (entry coming soon) to practice and perform their stitching skills. These test bandanas are later donated to cancer patients and hospitals across America.  In 2008, the Bloomers stencil appears in Alabama Stitch Book, becoming an everlasting part of The School of Making—established in 2014 (read an entry on The...

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Alabama Chanin - Billy Farrell, 2003

Billy Farrell, 2003

The conversation below between Billy Farrell and Kimry Blackwelder conducted via email in July of 2021. Thank you to Kimry and Billy for celebrating our long friendship and the 21 years of this work.  Kimry Blackwelder: What is your earliest memory of Natalie and/or Alabama Chanin? Billy Farrell: I first met Natalie on Valentine’s Day 2003, when I was hired to photograph her Project Alabama fashion show at Bowlmor Lanes in New York City. If I could go back in time and shoot it all over again, I would. It was a blast. KB: How do you think Alabama Chanin...

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Alabama Chanin - Prom Night, 2003

Prom Night, 2003

The Fall/Winter collection presentation, titled “Prom Night,” is staged on Valentine’s Day 2003 at Bowlmor Lanes in Greenwich Village, New York. Models, cast by Jennifer Venditti of JV8 INC, include a range of ages and sizes. Models and attendees bowl together. Debby Harry and Isaac Mizrahi attend, and a young photographer, Billy Farrell, photographs the evening for the Patrick McMullen Company. The Nadine Johnson Agency puts together the evening and goes on to do many more events for the company. So many of the people working on and attending the show become lifelong friends—including Zoe Turnbull who goes on, a...

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Alabama Chanin - Emerging Designers, 2003

Emerging Designers, 2003

Founded by Ecco Domani Wines, the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation awards Natalie the Emerging Designers Award, which includes a $20,000 grant to design and produce what becomes the Prom Night: A Preview of Fall/Winter 03/04 during New York Fashion Week.  Learn more about Ecco Domani here. Slide 1: Prom Night Crown, designed by subtitle, photograph by Robert Rausch Slide 2: Prom Night invitation, designed by subtitle, photograph by Robert Rausch

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Alabama Chanin - Tomas Maier Collaboration, 2003

Tomas Maier Collaboration, 2003

After an introduction in Paris, a collaboration is envisioned with designer Tomas Maier, future creative director of Bottega Veneta. Inspired by mutual friend Carmen Busquets, the collaboration showcases a limited-edition line of hand-stitched swimsuits, including 100 bikinis and 50 swim shorts. A party is hosted at the historic pool in the basement of L’Hotel in Paris and the mini-collection launches in early 2004. Learn more about Tomas Maier here. Learn more about Carmen Busquets’ work here.   Slide 1: Hand-stitched bikini from the Project Alabama and Tomas Maier collaboration, featured in the March 2004 issue of Vogue Magazine, photograph by Robert Rausch...

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Alabama Chanin - Stitch Book, 2003

Stitch Book, 2003

Natalie composes a book of techniques, written and illustrated by hand, to catalog and standardize evolving embroideries. Lovingly called the “Stitch Book,” the pages are photocopied and used to help streamline the collections and productions being accomplished by the 100+ artisans working in and around the community.  The handmade book eventually becomes the basis for the Studio Book series, The School of Making, and Project Threadways—recording and documenting handwork techniques and living arts across the region.   Purchase a signed copy of Alabama Stitch Book here. View more from the Studio Book Series here. Explore The School of Making here....

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Alabama Chanin - Organic Cotton, 2003

Organic Cotton, 2003

Beginning in 2002, Natalie and Project Alabama develop 100% organic cotton fabrics in partnership with the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, and North Carolina converters. This work furthers Alabama Chanin’s mission of supporting domestic farmers and manufacturing, sustainably-sourced materials, and providing quality products. The seed-to-shelf, domestically-grown, organic fabrics are used to create collection garments from 2005 onward, and are offered by the yard to home sewers starting in 2007. These fabrics become a core supply chain piece for Alabama Chanin and The School of Making. Learn more about our supply chain here.   Slide 1: Organic cotton field, Alabama, March...

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