Alexander Julian

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Alexander Julian
Born (1948-02-08) February 8, 1948 (age 71)
EducationUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Colours by Alexander Julian, Alexander Julian Private Reserve, Alexander Julian Home Colours
Spouse(s)Meagan Mannell (?—present)[1]
AwardsCoty Award

Alexander Julian (born (1948-02-08)February 8, 1948[2]) is an American clothing designer widely known for his Colours clothing brand and designing his own clothing fabric. Julian has won five Coty Awards for design — the first before age 30—and the Cutty Sark award three times.


Born to Mary Brady[3] and Maurice S. Julian, he was raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a childhood playmate of James Taylor.[4] His father, Maurice S. Julian (1915–1993),[5] opened a cycling shop in Chapel Hill, Julian's Cyclery,[6] later becoming a clothier and opening Julian's in 1942.[7] Julian pursued a degree in English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill[8] while working at his father's clothing store. Julian pleaded with his father to open a store of his own, and while his family was away for a month in the summer of 1969, Julian released one of his father's tenants from a lease, dropping out of school and at age 19 opening his first store, Alexander's Ambition.[9][10][11] He subsequently bought out his father's interest, leading to a period where he and his father were in direct competition. In 1973 Julian campaigned for the Chapel Hill Board of Aldermen (town council), finishing fifth.

In 1988, Julian received a Distinguished Alumni award from UNC.[8] The store is now located on the north side of Franklin Street and is called Julian's.[12]

Julian had one child with his first wife.[9] He has three children with his wife, the former Meagan Mannell[2] and three children by previous marriages.[2]


In 1975 Julian moved to New York, founding the Alexander Julian Company. In the 1990s Julian consolidated his companies under a venture capital fund, which subsequently liquidated its fashion interests in 1995.[9] Having essentially lost his clothing businesses. Julian later rebuilt his businesses, beginning again from his furniture line, which he had started in 1994 and not consolidated under the venture fund.[9]

Julian designed the uniform for the Charlotte Hornets when they joined the NBA,[13] and re-designed the University of North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball uniforms. He created the trademark argyle pattern down the sides of the uniform, added bolder trim, and used different fabrics for the 1991-92 season upon Dean Smith's request.[14] He also designed the stadium seating for the Charlotte Knights baseball team in 1990, using seats in fourteen different colors to create a pattern not unlike a textile pattern.

In the early 1970s, Julian modernized traditional menswear with innovative new silhouettes and fabrics while introducing new colors and color combinations becoming the first American fashion designer to design his own cloth.[15] In 1981, he started a successful menswear clothing line called "Colours by Alexander Julian".[16] His textile design is part of the Smithsonian's permanent collection.[17] Later, he branched out to furniture and home furnishings, and in 2008 moved his furniture licensing to Vaughan-Bassett.[18]

Julian was the costume designer for the 1992 Robert Altman film, The Player.[2] In 2014 he designed a line of men's moisture-wicking cycling shirts that can be worn to lunch or the office after cyclings — for the Chapel Hill company, Performance Bicycle.[19]


  1. ^ Samantha Thompson Smith (2006-07-10). "Living in colours". News & Observer. Retrieved 2008-09-27.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d Who's Who in America - 2008 (62nd ed.). 2007.
  3. ^ Sheryl Julian (1995-09-03). "Wearing well; Living with knockoffs - but in style;". Boston Globe. p. 65.
  4. ^ Samantha Thompson Smith (2007-01-05). "What made Julian famous". News & Observer. Retrieved 2008-09-27.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Maurice Julian". 1993-09-23. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
  6. ^ "He's more colorful than ever"., Dawn Kurry, July 25, 2014.
  7. ^ "Julians: In Brief". Archived from the original on 2010-02-25. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
  8. ^ a b "Exclusive: Alexander Julian on his 3 upcoming books, and the secret about his UNC days"., Dawn Kurry, July 25, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d "Alex the Incorrigible". Chapel Hill Magazine, June 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-08-21.
  10. ^ Dudley Wright (2007-05-09). "Alexander Julian to help design local homes". Retrieved 2008-09-27.[dead link]
  11. ^ "Julian's: History". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-21. Retrieved 2008-09-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Frazier, Walt Clyde; Sachare, Alex (1998). Complete Idiot's Guide to Basketball. Alpha Books. p. 142.
  14. ^ Adam Lucas (2008-12-02). "Lucas: UNC Basketball Mailbag". CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  15. ^ "About Alexander Julian | Alexander Julian." About Alexander Julian | Alexander Julian. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
  16. ^ name=30yrprofile
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Alexander Julian License Moving to Vaughan-Bassett". North American Publishing Company. 2008-01-28. Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
  19. ^ "Performance Bicycle to roll out Alexander Julian fall line"., Dawn Kurry, July 15, 2014.

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