14 July 2012

Handmade Couture: Alabama Chanin

Natalie Chanin was an artist from Alabama who, after spending some time in New York, realized that it was not exactly feasible for her to produce hand made t-shirts in New York. Honey, I hear you. I'm in NYC right now and am looking for some wonderful seamstresses to collaborate with!

Anyhoo, she decided, like so many young designers, to go back "home." And that home would be Alabama of the USofA, a place that once was a pinnacle of t-shirt manufacturing that is now, like so many places throughout the Americas, ravaged by unemployment.

So Natalie brought Fair Trade back to the USofA, employing seamstresses and sewing aficionados to produce her organic cotton, couture-esque hand made womenswear, jeanswear, and custom bridal wear under the label Alabama Chanin, harkening back to the pre-Industrial Revolution olden days when all of our clothes were made by hand (could you imagine!). And instead of producing a junior label under its couture one, Alabama Chanin has a number of DIY kits, books, workshops, and fabrics that are affordable for the junior market. Just like Junky Styling and so many an avant-garde, hand made label, Alabama Chanin follows the tried-and-true formula of giving younger consumers not least expensive junior line but rather the tools to produce and design themselves.

Watch this video as produced by handmade central, Etsy, and just get a taste of the inspiration.

"They would not have the place to sell the clothes, were it not for me. But I would not have clothes to sell, were it not for them."

Team work makes the dream work,

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