Exploring Textile Repurposing with Allie Chamberlain

Fashion designer Allie Chamberlain blends family heritage with repurposing techniques to create joyful quilted pieces that express personality, intention, and cultural storytelling.

In this feature article, Allie shares her perspective on seeing the beautiful potential in all things, her vision for the future of fashion, and the roots of repurposing found within Appalachian and Western Kentucky quilting.



In each quilt she touches, Allie weaves a unique narrative, revering both sustainability and rich textile history. Through her artistry, she not only encourages us to rediscover the latent stories within our belongings, but also ignites the innate human urge to craft and reimagine.

Allie crafted her inaugural quilted coat during her time in architecture school while engrossed in her thesis project. Exploring the concept of identity and its portrayal through everyday attire, Allie embarked on revitalizing a family quilt, transforming it into a distinctive coat.

Today, she infuses each design with individuality with a playful mastery of colour, print, and symmetry. Whether adorned with floral prints, intricate patterns, or contrasting hues, her designs captivate a diverse spectrum of wearers, promising excitement for those in search of one-of-a-kind pieces.

“I have always been one to transform the most random object into something that holds value, seeing the beautiful potential in all things.”

In addition to her talent as a fashion designer, Allie embodies optimism, joy, and creativity. She holds storytelling dear, cherishes building meaningful connections, and firmly believes that within each person lies a creative spirit waiting to be unleashed.

“I believe we're all born creative and are all called to create. The difference between the person who identifies as creative and the one who doesn't — is at what point they stopped allowing themselves the freedom to create.” 


Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Allie draws inspiration from her surroundings and honours her family heritage in her work. Through meticulous craftsmanship, she preserves the original textile's pattern and personality, while skillfully enhancing its functionality for modern use.

Half of my family is from the Appalachian part of Kentucky, and the other half is from western Kentucky; in both regions, the women have quilted for generations. Rural Appalachian quilting is rooted in repurposing — most often, repurposing torn clothing, feed sacks, and any material they could find into quilts for warmth and utilitarian purposes within the home. In western Kentucky, my family quilted in similar ways, often using quilting as a means for social connection as women sat together and quilted for their families. 

I'm inspired by the women of my family history, those that I know, and those that came long before me. I know their stories through their work and understand more of my family history through the quilts they left behind. I feel inspired by their perseverance through hardship, the beauty they created from "waste," and the stories they left behind without using words.”



I asked Allie what her thoughts are on fashion and how it should evolve while considering sustainable practices. Her response - 

"In regards to sustainability in fashion, I think the fashion industry as a whole needs to evolve, along with the mentality of consumers.

In terms of sustainability in the minds of consumers, I think we should stop shopping for clothing unless absolutely necessary, buy second hand if we do need something, and if we can't find it secondhand, purchase from a sustainable company. If all consumers shopped this way, it would completely change the demand for fast fashion, production would be reduced, consumption would rapidly decline, and producers would be forced to change to sustainable practices!

This is obviously a huge change and very idealistic, but man how amazing would that be. It's easy to become bogged down with how huge of a problem this is, but if we all take a step in the right direction, and treat every purchase (or lack of purchase) as a vote for a more sustainable planet - I think large-scale change will come so much sooner!"



Explore Allie's pieces at Reclaim Creative and join her on Instagram to stay current on upcoming launches and the latest behind-the-scenes content.

Written by Gabryel Lake