Project Threadways is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that records, studies, and explores the history and impact of textiles.


We seek to understand the impact that textiles and their creation had on our local community, the region of the American south, the nation, and finally at the global level—connecting the people, places, and materials throughout the process.



Our goal is to accurately and respectfully retell the story of textiles—from farm to finished product—and the way the act of making textiles shaped the lives of the communities and the individuals of those communities. In partnership with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area and the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, we collect oral histories, analyze and publish data, and stage events that serve as centers for conversation, exploring the connection between community and the evolving region through the lens of material culture.


Key players and programs in the founding of our organization.

  • Natalie Chanin

    Natalie is owner and creative director of Alabama Chanin and founder of Project Threadways. She has been working in her community of Florence, Alabama, for over 20 years—defining sustainability as a pioneer in slow fashion.

  • Alabama Chanin

    Established in 2006, Alabama Chanin is a lifestyle brand that produces garments and goods from 100% organic cotton. With dedication to locally sewn production, the company prides itself on responsible design and manufacturing.

  • Makeshift

    From 2012 – 2014, Alabama Chanin hosted a series of workshops and conversations seeking to understand how the act of making brings together the worlds of fashion, craft, design, and DIY to better change communities.

  • Project Threadways

    Founded in 2019 as a 501(c)(3), Project Threadways utilizes Makeshift's conversations, Alabama Chanin's experience, and Natalie's vision through academic partnerships and programing where we share our findings with the public.


We envision a healthier future in which textiles are an integral part of growing communities and where material culture can be a source of reconciliation and communal growth.

We tell untold stories.

Each community has its own stories that are part of a larger, unexplored picture. We seek to celebrate both of these cultures by asking questions that may never have been asked before.

We are committed to honesty. Not all stories are comfortable or easy to hear—but their relevancy remains central to the overall picture. We cannot tell a complete story without facing truths of all kinds.

Each story comes from an individual who is part of a community. We vow to respect the individual histories we document, both good and bad.

We intend to use each story and all data collected to tell the larger story of textile culture in the South, as it truly was.

We seek to collaborate.

We will work with organizations who have similar goals and visions and who have relevant information toward our project.

We will reach out to all academic organizations to find the most accurate resources available to us in our studies.

We do not limit our community by physical boundary. Those who have stories or information to share that is relevant to our study are welcome to the conversation

We have no agenda but to tell the truth.

We are proud of our region but are well aware of the pain that surrounds the research we are undertaking. It is our responsibility to tell all truths, not just the convenient ones.


We seek to partner with all like organizations that can advance our research, provided they offer objective research.


We are creating a product that is intended for public consumption. To the best of our ability, we intend to be transparent in our methods and our data. This project is meant to document a community and should be open to that same community’s examination.


We do not seek to press an agenda upon the data we collect or the stories we document. Project Threadways will follow where the data leads us.


We are committed to responsible and sustainable practices.


Because Alabama Chanin is a key participant in this undertaking, we aim to lend our practices of responsible making to our research and study. This includes utilizing fair and unbiased research methods and responsible environmental procedures.