New York City, The City of Dreams, and the place where a 20-piece marching band, fashion models, friends and family followed my lead down 5th Ave to my long-anticipated future in menswear. It may not have been the introduction I dreamed of, but looking back, it was the beginning of all my dreams coming true.
I first moved to Manhattan in 1975 to launch a new concept of menswear defined as "Modern Traditional,” the pillar of which was the fabrics themselves. As the first American menswear designer to personally design their own textiles, the fashion press and the avant garde loved me and my line’s bold use of color.
A number of awards, magazine covers and editorials for my expensive and original designs gave rise to an unprecedented opportunity to design affordable "copies" of my best ideas. This new line became "Colours by Alexander Julian”. The British spelling homaged Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, who set the 20th Century standard for men's style.
Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, both eager purveyors of the earliest "Alexander Julian" line, decided to launch the more popular priced concept. Saks chose the unlikely theme of "Alexander's Ragtime Band" for its launch, positioning marching band uniforms on mannequins alongside my designs in every window on 5th Ave. My marketing director, delighted by the idea, immediately hired a marching band of our own, to follow my lead from my offices on 55th St down 5th Ave to Saks.
Even a year before my parade debut, I never dreamt I’d be seen marching down 5th avenue promoting my very own line. While my dreams first came to life on 5th Avenue over 35 years ago, my dream is still developing and filling with color today. I’ve begun a new wave of menswear design innovation in the heart of Chapel Hill, on Franklin St.
Throughout my 20’s, I relied on a lot of ambition and even more luck to get me to the level of success that marched down 5th Avenue. It’s only fitting that I continue to channel that same ambition and hope for a lot of good timing to bring my new and improved generation of Alexander Julian to life.