When Natalie “Alabama” Chanin launched Project Alabama in 2000, the concept of a community-based fashion label, crafted locally by hand, was at once revelation and revolution. Six years later, however, the company ceased production in Alabama, resulting in Chanin’s departure and the creation of Alabama Chanin. But despite falling off the map shortly after, it appears that reports of Project Alabama’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Now under the direction of Charlotte Greenough—a New York City native who previously designed for Anthropologie, Christian Francis Roth, Morgane Le Fay, and Beyond Vintage—Project Alabama is dusting off its ashes with a new collection for spring.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA
Despite its folksy tagline (“hand touched, community crafted”), the rejiggered “lifestyle-led” brand seems to be less concerned with domestic production than it does with making itself more universally accessible.
The resurrected line still champions time-honored craftsmanship—appliqué, beading, and embroidery included—on all-natural fabrics.
That’s not to say that Project Alabama has lost its sustainable ethos. Manufactured in fair-trade-certified factories in China and India, as well as hand-knitted in Peru, the resurrected line still champions time-honored craftsmanship (appliqué, beading, and embroidery included) on all-natural fabrics. But in its quest for urbanity, it appears that Project Alabama has jettisoned what made it so quietly subversive more than a decade ago: its quintessential “Americanness” in the face of unbridled outsourcing.
Greenough’s label may still have plenty to distinguish itself, but Project Alabama—and the cross-generational quilting bee Chanin envisioned—it is no longer.