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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Thumbs up Project Alabama

    Project Alabama <-- this is a very cool thing

    The founder, Natalie Chanin, is a designer who while in New York got so many compliments on t-shirts she had made using traditional hand-stitching techniques learned in her Alabama hometown that she realized there was a market for them.

    She went back to Florence, Alabama -- a region once known for its textile industry and now economically devastated by the death of the mills -- and started a business. Now Project Alabama employs 150 contract stitchers, thereby not only reviving a local craft but also giving people the opportunity to support themselves with their artisanship.

    The clothing line has moved way past t-shirts alone now, and each piece is unique. Check out the Spring 2006 collection.

    I am all recovery & regrowth in devestated communities... more things like this should get started around the US/Canada & the World, don't you think?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    714
    Cass, I spent much of my childhood summers around the Florence, AL area, visiting relatives. We always had such a great time on the Tennessee River and at Ivy Green, birthplace of Helen Keller. It is a naturally beautiful area filled with kind people, as I remember, but the area is suffering greatly with high unemployment and low wages.
    Textile mills were the absolute mainstay for most women in the workforce without college degrees.
    In the past 25 years, the area has seen the closing of its 2 major employers, Ford Motor Co, and Reynolds Aluminum. A smaller aluminum processing plant is still open, but employs a scant percentage of the people which Reynolds did for over 30 years.

    My relatives, who are now retired but were in the healthcare profession, tell me that the numbesr of suicides, bankruptcies and general business failures are alarming. The area is in dire need of industry, and Project Alabama makes me very happy. I read about it on www.al.com which is a website about " everything Alabama".

    My family and I hope to be able to purchase clothing for sale from the endeavor.
    Another person who has done something similar to this when the larger textile plants were still open is Marigail Mathis.
    She owned or may still own a high end boutique and is probably a participant in this program, as her own fashions were made of cotton knit in mixable separates. ( I was given some of her clothing as a holiday gift once and met her at a trunk showing at her shop during that time).

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2003
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    Hi Thinkoflaura... when I came across this article I thought it was just so cool, look what they have accomplished? 150 people back to work and still expanding.

    Thanks for sharing your story about your childhood visits there

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Alabama
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    464
    I think this is a great idea..I really liked a lot of the clothing! I must say, though, that I am glad that I rarely see women here in Alabama with hair like that!! LOL! Someone PLEASE buy those little ladies a comb!
    Kathleen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    714
    Have you ever noticed the wild hair and makeup shown in the major couture shows? Twice a year, the major fashion magazines look like they have been taken over by unkempt, colorblind aliens with an addiction to Mary Kay and an aversion to a hairbrush.
    I agree, it's not the real world, but it is in keeping with a haute couture fashion showing. .

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathleen
    I think this is a great idea..I really liked a lot of the clothing! I must say, though, that I am glad that I rarely see women here in Alabama with hair like that!! LOL! Someone PLEASE buy those little ladies a comb!
    Kathleen



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