Last night, fashion designer Alexander Julian came back home to Chapel Hill and walked down the red carpet with the Carolina Men of Style.
Julian resides in Connecticut on an estate he calls Chapel Hill North, but he frequently returns to 140 and 142 E. Franklin St., the sites of Julian’s and Julian’s Home, to visit with friends and family.
The new addition to last night’s gathering showed the debut of the winners of the Carolina Men of Style Campaign.
Fourteen male models, all undergraduate or graduate students at UNC, were chosen earlier this semester in a Zoom City Advertising model search led by Dana McMahan, owner of Zoom City Advertising.
“Julian’s has been here for 58 years, and this campaign is a historical discovery of the obvious,” McMahan said. “Why haven’t we used guys on campus to showcase our clothes before?”
More than 100 applicants sought the 14 positions. After a series of interviews and auditions, representatives were finally chosen. C.J. Cash is one of these men. “I’ve been a big Alexander Julian fan since he started designing the basketball uniforms,” Cash said. “The free Alexander Julian clothes were my motivation.”
Cash is a junior journalism major from Rocky Mount. He said he has had no previous modeling experience and his first advertisement is running today. “I haven’t seen (my picture) yet because I’m pretty bashful,” Cash said.
“It was a pretty random event, because personally, I don’t think I’m that good looking.”
Scott Schobel, a fourth-year medical student at UNC from Mayville, N.D., has done some modeling before, but he said he thinks this has been a totally different experience.
“The professional perspective of modeling is that it is no brains and all beauty,” Schobel said.
“The people want to be in the media, but this is more casual and has a very warm feel.”
The men will be pictured in a variety of advertisements, direct mail, newspapers and on the Alexander Julian’s Web site at http://www.julianstyle.com.
Missy Julian-Fox, sister of designer Julian, said she wanted to get students more involved. “Business has always been about Carolina and its students,” Fox said. “We are getting more students, and we want even more.”
UNC students have shopped and worked at the store since it opened in 1942, and some store proceeds go toward the need-based Mary and Maurice Julian Scholarship for UNC students.
Maurice, the founder of Julian’s, discouraged his young son Alexander from pursuing a career in design, said friend Claude McKinney.
“I was a student at Chapel Hill in 1949 when I first met Alex,” McKinney said. “He was a toddler, and even then Maurice didn’t want him to go into fashion.”
Julian said he tried to do what his father wanted but was destined to be a man of style.
“I entered Chapel Hill pre-med,” Julian said. “That’s what my father wanted me to do. But I was totally taken by textiles, and fashion just set me up.”
Julian said he was very impressed by the models and their sense of self. “Style is different than fashion,” Julian said. “Style is everlasting, and fashion is on the move. These guys are about style.”
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