The picture is of Alexander Julian’s father Maurice, creator of the Julian’s brand and member of the UNC Class of 1938, as he bikes to work.
Alexander Julian said biking was essential to his father’s routine and remains a great influence on his family today.
“Before my father opened Julian’s in 1942, he opened Julian’s Cyclery, Chapel Hill’s first bicycle shop,” he said.
His father, along with his personal passion for biking, led Alexander Julian to design a bicycle apparel line for Performance Bicycle, a national online bicycle chain based in Chapel Hill.
“It’s a new concept in bicycle shirts,” he said. “In today’s world we need multifunctional everything. Bike shirts have been made pretty much one way for a long time and the design was always following a sort of everyman spinoff of what professional bikers used.”
Alexander Julian said he wanted to not just develop a new clothing concept, but a new lifestyle concept.
“What I did was answer the need of offering a garment people can commute in,” he said. “Something you could wear to work and not look like you were wearing a bike shirt. You could bike to a coffee shop and not look like you were wearing a bike shirt. We wanted a concept of bike to work, bike to lunch, bike to golf and bike in style.”
Huston Julian, a senior at UNC and Alexander’s son, said the new apparel line is a testament to the brand’s devotion to promoting an active lifestyle.
“Bike jerseys as they have been are great for what they are: you have your spandex and your big logos but this is a new concept and a versatility thing,” he said. “I even feel comfortable wearing them to class. I feel at home with them on.”
Alexander Julian said he chose to partner exclusively with Performance Bicycle because it is one of the largest chains of bicycle stores in the country. It took more than two years to get the line to market.
“I approached them with the idea several times,” he said. “I greatly commend them and their management team. They are all fantastic people committed to world of cycling with a passion.”
He said the Alexander Julian Power Plaid short sleeve jersey has been the biggest seller and quickly sold out.
Alexander Julian said he is also planning to introduce a fall collection of long-sleeved bike jerseys that will be released within the month. He plans to add more designs and a separate collection for women in the spring.
“For a new concept, the results are pretty invigorating,” he said. “We have even had some interest in this concept from countries outside of the U.S.”
Alexander Julian said he is in the process of introducing two bicycles designed with his signature style.
“One of the bikes is an urban commuter bike with five speeds,” he said. “This type of bike will be very chic. Then I will be doing a very racy and colorful alternative bike. It will have a lot of color and you will definitely see my signature Carolina argyle on it as well.”
Bill Hein, director of apparel and shoes for Performance Bicycle, said the apparel has been a success since the start.
“We continue to work to perfect the fashion and functionality of the line. It is definitely something new to the bicycling world,” he said.