Alabama and the Textile Industry

October 16, 2015 – Spring 2016
Second Floor Lobby

This temporary exhibit highlighted the long history of textile manufacturing in the Alabama and featured clothing and accessories by current Alabama fashion designers, along with a small display of historic artifacts and documents from the museum’s collections.

The textile industry has deep roots in Alabama. It was once a leading industry in the state, employing thousands. By the 1980s, the industry declined as production moved overseas. Mills were left vacant and many found themselves out of work. Alabama and the Textile Industry focused on the rise, decline, and current resurgence of the industry in Alabama that is being spurred by the work of several well-known fashion designers.

On display in the exhibit was clothing from internationally-known menswear designer Billy Reid, headquartered in Florence; hand-sewn garments from award-winning designer Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, also of Florence; and colorful, sustainably produced socks by Gina Locklear of Zkano Socks of Fort Payne, a town formerly known as the “Sock Capital of the World.” The exhibit also included several historic artifacts, photographs, and documents that told the story of the textile industry in the state from the 1840s to the present.

Press Release