The Duke-Carolina rivalry is alive and well - even when it comes to eco-friendly graduation gowns. Duke announced last month it will have green regalia for spring commencement. UNC will be going green as well, but with a little more style.
Award-winning colorist and fashion designer Alexander Julian, left, a Chapel Hill native and UNC Alumnus, was bothered by the fact that UNC's regalia was not a true Carolina Blue, and wanted to make sure that his son, Will, was not going to graduate in May wearing an aqua gown.
Julian knows a good bit about color — he is most famous for his Colours clothing line, and is responsible for putting argyle on the Heels' basketball uniform.
He obtained approval from Chancellor Holden Thorp at the beginning of the 2010 football season to follow through with his true blue and truly green regalia.
Julian worked with Oak Hall Cap & Gown, the longtime supplier of UNC regalia, Carolyn Elfland, associate vice chancellor for campus services, and John Gorsuch, interim director of campus merchandising for Student Stores, to create the first designer regalia in the country.
Fashion details such as white piping along the yoke and two white panels in front were added by the designer. Julian also removed one of the pleats in the gown for a more flattering fit. And the shade of the fabric is now what he deems to be the perfect shade of Carolina blue.
Oak Hall offered a fabric made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, which is the same material in Duke's graduation gowns. The fabric is manufactured in Asia, which didn't fit the UNC team's idea of sustainable. Oak Hall found a manufacturer with mills in the Carolinas to produce the fabric, and it will be sewn into gowns at the company's facility in Virginia.
The True Blue gown is $54.99, only $5 more than last year's aqua model. Students who have old gowns can return them for a $5 credit toward a new one.
The new regalia will be debuted at Commencement Information Day on March 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Student Union.