Natalie Chanin is the founder and creative director of Alabama Chanin. She was born and raised in Florence, Alabama, where her company is based.
For over a decade, Natalie worked as a stylist and costume designer, traveling the globe.
Chanin returned to her Southern home in 2001 with the intention of producing a line of hand-sewn t-shirts. In the process of creating that project, she also produced a short documentary. That film Stitch, focused on traditional quiltmaking in the South, with stories told by those who stitched and were warmed by those quilts.
While producing the film and a collection of t-shirts, Natalie met many women who were former seamstresses or textile workers from the 1980s, when her hometown's former title was "T-shirt Capital of the World." The signing of NAFTA left many women and men unemployed as Alabama's textile industry moved south of the border. This perfect storm of circumstances inspired Alabama Chanin and the newest educational arm of the company called 'The School of Making'.
Chanin strives to achieve complete sustainability at every stage of the manufacturing process – from materials and processes, to cultural sustainability in the form of preserving hand-sewing skills.
In 2013, Chanin won the CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge, an award competition that identifies and celebrates the greatest American designers working in the realm of sustainable fashion. Chanin continues to learn and to teach craft traditions, or "living arts," using them to bridge generational, economic, and cultural gaps.