Assoc. Prof. Diane Vigna finds High Style in Alabama

Assoc. Prof. Diane Vigna finds High Style in Alabama

27 Mar 2009    

Alabama Chanin workshop-in-progress at company headquarters, Florence, Alabama. Dr. Diane Vigna is seated center, Natalie Chanin standing to her left. Photo courtesy Sumi Lee.

Dr. Diane Vigna, TCD Extension Specialist, traveled recently to Florence Alabama at the invitation of fashion designer Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, to attend an Alabama Studio Style weekend workshop. Vigna and thirteen others from across the nation were taught to create garments “Alabama Chanin” style. Chanin works with 100% cotton jersey knits. Her garments are all hand-sewn and typically involve a great deal of reverse appliqué, negative reverse appliqué, embroidery and beaded embellishment. Each workshop participant chose a garment from Chanin’s line to work on during the weekend. (See item on Chanin’s October visit to TCD in the October archives of this blog.)

Workshop vests, Sumi Lee, Asst. Prof. at Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles, at left, and vest-in-progress by Assoc. Prof. Diane Vigna at right. Photo left courtesy Sumi Lee.


Attendees at the workshop included faculty members from West coast fashion school Otis College of Art & Design as well as a midwest institute of art; a Minnesota costume designer; a country music singer from New York City; and several others from Minnesota, Indiana, Alabama and Georgia, all Alabama Chanin apparel devotees. After the weekend workshop, Vigna spent a week with Chanin and her staff to investigate her business model and operation, and to learn how Alabama Chanin works with local sewers to produce the brand's exquisite high fashion products.

Alabama Studio Style workshop participants. Designer Natalie Chanin is second from left, standing; Dr. Vigna is fifth from left, standing. Photo courtesy of Sumi Lee.


Dr. Vigna now plans to brainstorm with TCD and Extension faculty on ways that small business ventures in rural Nebraska communities might be inspired by or patterned after the Alabama Chanin model.

Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design