Slow designer – Alabama Chanin
US company Alabama Chanin is an industry leader when it comes to slow fashion and ethical and sustainable clothing manufacture and design. The company markets a range of basics along with exquisite hand embroidered couture items which draw upon the skills of the traditional quilting craftswomen from the region. The company firmly believes in revitalising local industry and has created a market for locally grown organic cotton coloured with low impact dyes, which are used to create the Alabama Chanin clothing range.
The time and skill involved in stitching their pieces puts the couture items well out of reach for most consumers. However, designer and company founder Natalie Chanin firmly believes that slow fashion should be accessible to all. To make this possible, Natalie Chanin has published a number of sewing books with patterns for some of their clothing items and detailed instructions on embroidery techniques. Her book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design is a favourite of mine, and one that I have used to to relearn some of the stitching skills I learnt as a child. Abalama Chanin also offers a range of DIY packs for various clothing items, which come complete with fabric, patterns and stencils for stitching designs. As all of the clothing items are entirely hand stitched using organic cotton jersey (t-shirt fabric), these DIY books and packs are an excellent introduction to making your own clothing, with no need to own a sewing machine. Alabama Studio Sewing + Design includes patterns for skirts, tops and dresses, as well as simple projects to start you off such as finger-less gloves. If you are interested in giving sewing and embroidery a try, I highly recommend this book as your starting point. DIY kits, such as the one below are also a good way to give stitching your own clothing a go.