Hometown: Florence, Alabama
Occupation: Designer, stylist, and founder and creative director of the lifestyle and fashion company Alabama Chanin.
Comfort first “I am always happiest when I feel comfortable. I want to be able to move around, work, dance, cook dinner, and still feel beautiful. Some women associate pain with beauty—wearing tight corsets and undergarments, uncomfortable shoes, artfully constructed hair and makeup. I think that, for me, personal style, beauty, and comfort are not mutually exclusive.”
She finds beauty in simplicity “Alabama Chanin’s most recent collection is inspired by photos from the 1930s and ’40s of American farmers and working families. There is a practicality in those garments—each person took time to make what they were wearing special. They took pride in their appearances, even when they had almost nothing. Those people—and everyone who takes the time to add their personal stamp to life—are my style icons.”
Her favorite things “I love the sunlight that comes through my kitchen windows. I have a daughter in elementary school, so our home is ‘lived-in.’ It is easy to acquire ‘stuff,’ so I work hard to fill a home with a few beautiful and useful things. I don’t think I could live without my books, which take up more space every year, and a sturdy cast-iron skillet.”
Sweet home Alabama “In my community in Alabama, I am surrounded by people who have an incredible work ethic. So many people still know how to grow things in the earth, make things with their hands, and perfect a craft or a trade. I love seeing the artistic community grow and flourish. We all work to support one another and genuinely want to see our fellow artists succeed. ‘A rising tide lifts all boats,’ as they say.”
I am traditional For Natalie, versatility and craftsmanship remain constant, and classic beauty trumps trend. “Make something well, and it will last a lifetime.”