Billy Reid may get all the love in Florence, Alabama, but he’s not the only designer shaping the city’s nascent fashion scene. For nearly two decades, Natalie Chanin has been cultivating a loyal following for her made-in-the-USA label, Alabama Chanin. The line of hand-sewn organic cotton clothing and textiles (pillows, bedding, towels, etc.) is a little bit country, a little bit Kinfolk. The designs incorporate embroidery and reverse appliqué—often to stunning effect. Rosanne Cash is such a fan, she wore a Chanin piece to the Grammys and named her 2014 album (The River & the Thread) after a trip to Florence that included quality time in Chanin’s sewing-and-production facility.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be the daughter of Johnny Cash to see how things get made here. Simply show up at the design studio at 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, for a free 30-minute tour. The artfully arranged showroom and boutique houses racks of ethereal dresses and shabby-chic bridal gowns, plus vintage postcards, sturdy wood cutting boards, hand-bound journals, and all the latest cookbooks. Come early and have lunch at The Factory, Chanin’s skylit café. Weathered tables are set with fresh flowers and the food is plated on ceramics sold in the shop. Specials change daily—on our visit, the chef was making a hearty kale, sausage, and white bean soup—but rest assured, the ingredients are as naturally sourced as the clothing.
462 Lane Dr., Florence, AL; 256-760-1090.