Allison creates bags, scarves, throws, blankets and rugs, and a limited number of custom-designed garments. If you can’t swing into her studio, shop her creations online: shuttersandshuttles.com. says. My timing was lucky: The handmade scene in Nashville was just starting to heat up. In the past five years, Allison has seen interest in her art grow along with the burgeoning handmade culture and the slow fashion movement.
Buying clothing made in the U.S. not only supports the designer but also extends to the people working for them, whether it is in-house seamstresses or entire factories where small-batch garments are being created, she says. Finding her own collaboration helped Allison sharpen her focus and shape her designs, allowing her to happily declare herself a fulltime weaver and a key player in the slow fashion field. The partnership started as a practical solution: When a third loom threatened to render rooms in their small home impassable, Allison began sharing a studio with clothing designer acquaintances Ashley Balding of Ona Rex and Jamie
Frazier and Hannah Jones, who sell under the Jamie + the Jones label.
This artful alliance led to an epiphany Allison could make cloth and let the designers take it from there. I realized that I love the fabric design aspect most of all, she says. In the end I’m not a fashion designer. What I really love is the process.
The process is not for the mildly curious.
It takes floor space, time, an artful eye and a deep understanding of what fibers will make a stable fabric. Allison puts only the most ethical and exquisite natural fibers almost exclusively cotton and silk onto her looms. The cotton is sourced in Tennessee and grown only in the U.S.; fair-trade, high-quality silk is supplied from a mill in India. Both fibers sop up dye magnificently and have an ultra-soft hand, which allows Allison to weave them into her signature subtle and sophisticated designs, which feel every bit as good as they look.
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