I’ve been a fan of Natalie Chanin ever since I read about her clothing company, Project Alabama, in a Vogue magazine when I was in high school. I ripped out the pages and saved it in a folder, inspired and dreaming that one day I, too, would start a high fashion company in a podunk town.
Alabama Chanin, her newest company, has won the CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge this week, which includes a $75,000 grand prize for the most green fashion business. After reading about this from Twitter, I immediately went to AlabamaChanin.com and pored over her current product of natural-fibered quilted and appliquéd apparel and accessories, all made by hand… with no sewing machines… by her neighbors in rural Alabama. I love this concept of merging old traditions with current fashion trends.
Years after I first heard of Natalie Chanin, I was still inspired by her: While I was working 24/6 in the inner city in Georgia, on my Sabbath I took the train to get a t-shirt at Urban Outfitters and then embroidered a peach, beaded, and appliqued recycled jersey pieces on it. My roommate and her friend later fought over buying rights for it, which ended with the loser going to pout on the couch. (pictured below)
I think if I lived in Alabama, Natalie and I would become friends.