The Archives

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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Alabama Chanin - Habitual Jeans Collaboration, 2003

Habitual Jeans Collaboration, 2003

In collaboration with Michael and Nicole Colovos of Habitual, 432 pairs of jeans are distressed, appliquéd, embroidered, and quilted. Called “The Bend Jean,” the garments feature patchwork denim from a community of Alaskan fisherman and were stitched together by the Alabama-artisans and using inspiration from the Gee’s Bend quilts. The famous quilt show, curated at the Whitney Museum of Art by the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, featured works created from the 1930s to 2000s, in Gee’s Bend, Alabama. A follow up collaboration of skirts between Habitual and Project Alabama was presented in Spring of 2004.  Learn more about the Souls...

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Alabama Chanin - Laura Vinroot Poole, 2003

Laura Vinroot Poole, 2003

Natalie and Laura Vinroot Poole meet in 2003 when Laura purchases the Project Alabama collection for her store Capitol.  The conversation below with Laura Vinroot Poole and Kimry Blackwelder occurred via email on April 28th, 2021. We’re grateful to Kimry and Laura for taking the time—during a global pandemic—to talk about the history of Alabama Chanin and Natalie’s work across the past 21 years. Kimry Blackwelder: What is your earliest memory of Natalie and/or Alabama Chanin?  Laura Vinroot Poole: I first met Natalie in the room where Oscar Wilde allegedly died in Paris so to say that it was memorable...

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Alabama Chanin - Paris and Oscar Wilde, 2003

Paris and Oscar Wilde, 2003

Twice a year, the Oscar Wilde Suite at L’Hotel becomes the collection showroom. Natalie meets with stores from around the world, and the stocklist grows from the original eight stores to over thirty global locations. From the early hand-sewn t-shirts, the collection has grown to include skirts, dresses, jackets, coats, and accessories. Approximately sixty artisans continue to embroider and construct every garment by hand.  The Oscar Wilde Suite is not only a showroom; but transforms into a photo studio, hotel room, and gathering spot for buyers and press who visit Paris during Fashion Week.  Each season, Natalie shares many moments...

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Alabama Chanin - Stenciling and Lean Method, 2002

Stenciling and Lean Method, 2002

With the creation of the first t-shirts, Natalie develops stenciling as a cornerstone of the company’s design process and business model. The first stencils used are simple, block numbers made out of brown kraft paper—the kind of numbers sold at hardware stores to spray-paint addresses on curbs. Through the decades, thousands of stencil patterns are developed, from simple to elaborate, and from geometric to floral motifs. The stencils are used as tools to transfer decorative patterns onto collection garments, and act as “maps” for sewing methods—appliqué, reverse appliqué, and even intricate beading. Fabric pieces are cut and stenciled in the...

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Alabama Chanin - Picnic, 2002

Picnic, 2002

The first annual company picnic is held at the Lovelace Crossroads house and production office. 

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