Alabama Chanin Collaboration

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 Photo by  Rinne Allen  of Natalie Chanin

Photo by Rinne Allen of Natalie Chanin

I have had the great honor to design and consult with Alabama Chanin for the past two years. 

When I was studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I did a project on Natalie Chanin, the founder of Alabama Chanin. This was in the early 2000’s, when NYC seemed to be losing sample rooms every day with sampling and production being moved overseas at a crazy pace. Natalie, on the other hand, was the first person, to my knowledge, to bring attention to domestic production.

When I first saw her work in Barney’s it changed my perspective. Not only is all of Alabama Chanin made domestically in Alabama, it’s also made with US grown Organic Cotton and has been for nearly 20 years. Many of the garments are hand sewn by artisans in Natalie’s community, and the rest are machine sewn in her factory in Florence, Alabama.

I met Natalie on a social occasion about 5 years ago. I was three glasses of wine deep when I slurred to her, “I can’t believe I’m meeting you! I did a project on you in college!” Because Natalie is super humble, and very approachable she laughed…and wasn’t completely creeped out by my fandom.

After getting to know each other over the years and forming a lovely friendship, we decided it would be amazing to work together.

I have been designing for Alabama Chanin with Natalie for the past two years now and have loved every second of it. I’ve learned so much about zero waste production processes, the conservation of hand craft, and our responsibilities to our community, not to mention the endless inspiration coming from Natalie’s passion for fashion and design.

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**Side note: The factory in which Alabama Chanin is housed was previously part of the t-shirt making capital of the world only to be left threatened after Nafta. This is a strong parallel to the building we produce The Shelter Collection in.

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In addition to me working on Natalie’s clothing line, we also decided to put Natalie’s touch on The Shelter Collection. When you walk into Natalie’s studio and home a white washed environment greets you. Not in a sterile way but in a way that creates a serene backdrop for the intricate craftsmanship being created all around her. So the natural direction to go for our collaboration was WHITE. We created these white bottom vessels. Each piece is made by applying the clear and white glass to the punty (the tube you blow through to make glasses), and the bubble is blown through both colors creating a unique combination of clear and white on each vessel. They look almost dipped in white, but it is interesting to know they are actually bonded together through breathing through the two colors.

This is a limited edition collection. It has a co-branded mark on the bottom representing both of our companies. So special to me…both of my jobs/passions.

ShelterJessi Davis