Five Fashion Brands Putting North Carolina On the Map

Raleigh Denim is made in the state capital, but known well beyond. (Image courtesy of Raleigh Denim.)

By jenniferbringle

October 4, 2021

These designers who call North Carolina home are shaping style well beyond our state’s borders.

Paris, New York, Milan—sure, none of the famous fashion capitals of the world are in North Carolina, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have style. From an iconic menswear brand to up-and-coming makers honoring the textile history of our state, these fashion brands prove that being chic will never go out of style in North Carolin

1. Alexander Julian/Julian’s

135 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

If North Carolina fashion were a kingdom, Alexander Julian would wear the crown. For nearly 50 years, Julian has dressed some of the most fashionable men in the world, introducing new silhouettes and color combinations that set him apart from other menswear designers. His family’s Chapel Hill store, Julian’s, has been dressing North Carolina men since his parents opened it in 1942, and today it’s the place to find Alexander’s designs, get custom-made suiting and pay homage to a legend of the state’s fashion history.

2. Raleigh Denim

319 W. Martin St., Raleigh

When married designer duo Sarah Yarborough and Victor Lytvinenko started making jeans more than a decade ago, they wanted to honor the textile tradition of North Carolina, using materials, machinery and techniques employed by mill workers for centuries. Their high-end Raleigh Denim line reflects that reverence for the past while capturing the youthful, fashion-forward spirit of Yarborough and Lytvinenko. Made by hand in their downtown Raleigh workshop and store, Raleigh Denim jeans—along with a full line of apparel for women and men—are crafted to be timelessly stylish. And visitors to their downtown Raleigh Curatory can not only shop for the latest styles, but get measured for a custom fit.

3. Holly Aiken Bags

3. Holly Aiken Bags, Wilmington
7232 Wrightsville Ave, Wilmington

For many years, all the coolest women in downtown Raleigh seemed to be carrying the same funky handbags—colorful vinyl with bold die-cut geometric patterns and whimsical bird or flower designs. Those “it bags” were designed by Holly Aiken, who has since moved her operation to the coast, making and selling her signature vinyl bags and other accessories in Wilmington. Designed to be as durable as they are stylish, Aiken’s purses, diaper bags, totes and more are all handmade and have become a collectible for fashion lovers in North Carolina and beyond.

4. Hudson’s Hill

527 S Elm St, Greensboro

Home for more than a century to the now-defunct denim-producing Cone White Oak Mill and headquarters for the parent company of Lee and Wrangler, Greensboro has earned its nickname of “Jeansboro.” And downtown outfitter Hudson’s Hill has built on that tradition making their own custom menswear and partnering with other North Carolina makers for exclusive lines. In their Elm Street shop, customers can peruse handmade men’s shirts, pants made in partnership with Durham artist River Takada’s Rivtak brand and shoes made in collaboration with Asheville’s Opie Way.

5. Moon and Lola

219 N. Salem Street, Suite 100, Apex

Working as a pharmacist, Kelly Shatat never imagined she’d one day own a fashion empire. But after making and selling out of her jewelry at a Junior League event, she decided to launch Moon and Lola, specializing in customizable pieces like the brand’s signature monogram acrylic necklace. Today, Moon and Lola jewelry are sold in boutiques across the country, major retailers like Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus, and at the company’s headquarters in downtown Apex. And as if that weren’t big enough, Moon and Lola creations were chosen in 2014 and 2015 by Oprah’s for her annual “Favorite Things” lists. 


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