We’re not shy about proclaiming our adoration for Alabama Chanin. Natalie and her team are doing deeply meaningful work over in their neck of the woods in the name of sustainability, commerce, and craftsmanship—work with far-reaching effects influencing how the textile industry operates on a larger scale. It’s as fascinating as it is inspiring, and we’re not the only ones noticing.
Recently, Alabama Chanin expanded into a 5,000 square foot space they’re calling The Factory + Cafe. Part retail store, part restaurant, part workshop, and part event venue, The Factory + Cafe is an innovative community space that opened in November 2013. Curious to know more, we checked in with Natalie and she shared with us some insight to the space, their future plans, and, yes, a favorite recipe below. Thanks, Natalie!
A member of the team at Natalie Chanin’s Building 14 lays out the pattern for the Grist, a raglan-style pullover made from 100% cotton that the Florence-based company is producing for Billy Reid. Photos by Bradley Dean
The Council of Fashion Designers of America has several hundred members from across North America. The majority are based in New York; the state with the second most robust CFDA membership is California. Number three? Alabama.
Not only are Billy Reid and Natalie Chanin, founder of the “slow fashion” company Alabama Chanin, the sole members of the CFDA from the Cotton State, they’ve both based their companies in the Shoals. Billy and Natalie are longtime residents of Florence – not to mention good friends and creative conspirators.
“We have a deep friendship and history of positive collaboration with the Billy Reid team,” says Natalie. “Not only do we have a kinship because we both work within the design world, but we share similar ideals.” Billy feels the same. “Natalie is one of our favorite people on the planet,” he says. “We’ve worked together on various projects and installations over the years.”