Fifteen years ago, designer Natalie Chanin left New York City and moved back to her hometown of Florence, Alabama, where she started what is now called Alabama Chanin, a line of made-to-order dresses and easy jersey basics. Chanin made a name for herself in the fashion world by producing locally. Her one-of-a-kind gowns were hand-stitched by local seamstresses. While the brand has evolved along the way, Alabama Chanin has remained a beacon for labels that want to produce their clothes in a thoughtful, ethical way.

Chanin was trumpeting the “Made in the U.S.A.” label long before it was cool again, and her website offers a detailed look at her supply chain, from the organic cotton seeds harvested in Texas to the fabric that is hand or machine sewn in her Florence factory. However, there is one element to the line that cannot be produced Stateside: The fine yarns required to make lightweight cotton jersey. Chanin has not been able to find machines in the U.S. that can spin that sort of yarn, so she must import it from Turkey. “It’s an American tragedy,” Chanin says.

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Photo Cred: Shinola