James “Junee” Patterson: Are you Runway Ready?

I can think back to almost twelve years ago when I first met our Runway Extraordinaire. During my college years, learning the traditional scholastic rules of business, I began to feed my hunger for everything fashion. Crossing paths with James Patterson, led us to brainstorm on a daily basis on fashion trends and runway etiquette. After graduating, our journey went in opposite directions but it would be our passions that brought us into a common industry. Born with a passion for style and design, James “Junee” Patterson always had a strong interest in fashion. Junee’s love for fashion dates back to a child as he would collect fashion magazines from around the globe and hang the current campaign ads and editorials on his wall. That allowed him to increase his knowledge in identifying High Fashion Models and certain designer and brand aesthetics. Junee’s love and knowledge of fashion has led him to being one of the most in-demand runway coaches in Charlotte, NC.  

Junee is currently a Modeling and Acting Coach with John Casablanca’s School of Modeling and Acting. His position allows him to turn his passion into a tool to motivate aspiring models and actors to be successful while nurturing their given talents and abilities. Junee has worked with a string of Blue Chips clients in the Charlotte region including SoftSheen Carson. He’s styled fashion editorials and wrote articles for Cinthe Magazine. He’s worked closely with Charlotte Fashionweek where he produced shows and managed the Model Coordination and Choreography.

What inspires Junee is when he’s teaching students and he see the passion in their eyes, whether it’s to be a Model or simply gain more confidence in everyday life. Junee’s style of teaching isn’t the average runway class were you’re only taught how to walk with great posture and etc. His classes delve into all facets of fashion from knowledge on designers and pronunciation of their names to who are the key industry players like Anna Wintour, Edward Enningful, Carine Roitfeld, and Anna Dello Russo. Junee also has a segment of class where he teaches his students the history of the Model from the first Vogue Cover Model to the Era of the Supermodel and all things related to the business of Modeling. Junee’s classes are now considered to be Fashion Education as his students leave his classes feeling empowered and full or knowledge.

Junee aspirations are to take his classes international. He would like to partner with International agencies like IMG, Women, Next, DNA, and Elite. Every season he watches the shows to see whose the next it girl and study their walk to see what improvements can be made to better their strut. He would like to be the Model Coach to the newcomers. He also has a strong eye for styling so he would love to work for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, V, Numero, ID, & Arena Homme as a freelanced stylist. 

BE-Style: Share with us some of the misconceptions models make about being on the runway?

JP: 1st misconception for females is that they should force or exaggerate their sashaying hips.

BE-Style: What is the first rule of walking the Runway?

JP: Confidence, Confidence, and CONFIDENCE

BE-Style: When did models first start walking the Runway as a means of showcasing fashion collections?

JP: History can’t quite track the origins of the 1st runway model but the first noted Fashion Model, Circa 1852, was Marie Vernet Worth, who was the wife to the Founding Father of Haute Couture; Charles Frederick Worth. The first Bona fide supermodel was Lisa Fonssagrives, who had over 200 vogue covers during the 30’s 40’s and 50’s, she was also married to Iconic photographer Irving Penn. Dorothea Towles Church was the first black model to walk the Haute Couture runways of Paris during the 40’s and 50’s. She was featured on covers of Black publications like Ebony and Jet during the 50’s.

BE-Style: What are some of your favorite Runway moments?

JP: Honestly there are too many to list, but I’ll state a few starting with The Kate Moss Hologram closing the Widows of Culloden Alexander McQueen Collection for Fall 2007. The Dior Spring/Summer 2007 Christian Dior Couture Collection featured every top model that inspired John Galliano i.e. Naomi, Linda, Gisele, only ones that were not there was Kate and Christy Turlington. Viktor & Rolf featured a full-animated show modeled by one model – The Great Shalom Harlow for the Spring 2009 show. The Greatest fashion moment would have to be back in November of 1973, when the American designers waged war against the French designers, storming the runway with a troop of an All Black model cast to lead the Americans in victory over the French. Until that day, black models weren’t used heavily in French fashion shows. Noted models were Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison (Kadeem Hardison’s Mother), Alva Chinn, Grace Jones, Tookie Smith, and Etc.

BE-Style: Who are you favorite (male & female) models, past and present?

JP: I truly cannot narrow this list but I’ll try. All of the 90’s supers hold a special place in my heart. i.e.: Tyra Banks, Cynthia Bailey, Naomi Campbell, Linda, Christy, Kate, Cindy, Claudia, Shalom, & Kristen McMenamy, The Baby Supers like: Gisele Bundchen, Carmen Kass, Liya Kebede & Alek Wek. The Current It girls: Natasha Poly, Karlie Kloss, Maria-Carla Boscono, Anja Rubik, Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Daria Stroukus, Karmen Pedaru, Magdalena Frackowiak,

Male models I follow are: Sean O’Pry (Georgia native) Jon Kortajarena, Simon Nessman, Matt Evans, David Agbodji (1st black male model to get a Calvin Klein exclusive contract 2 consecutive seasons) and Corey Baptiste. David Gandy and Tyson Beckford are my male model heroes because their star power exceeds the realms of the fashion industry.

BE-Style: What are some tips to models when walking the catwalk?

JP: Have fun and be yourself, remember your role is to display garments. If you feel nervous on the inside it will reflect on the outside. And again, Confidence is the key. Even if you mess up but if you’re confident the audience will think it was intentional and no one will ever notice.

BE-Style: How do you feel about music performance during Runway shows?

JP: Nowadays, it’s no longer a generic fashion show that last 10 to 15 minutes. Fashion shows have turned into big budget productions that can be quite entertaining so with that said I don’t mind music performances during fashion shows. Every designer from Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel to the Victoria Secret’s annual show has had a special musical guest to perform.

BE-Style: What some of your Runway dreams?

JP: I would love to do a stint on America’s Next Top Model (or any edition of top model across the globe) where I take the girls through my rigorous Runway workshop.  I would love to partner with Top agencies like IMG, DNA, Next, Women, Marilyn, Wilhelmina, Ford and Elite to introduce their new models to a workshop I titled – “Walking the Runway Workshop for Beginners. I would love to work overseas in Paris and Milan working with models and designers on coaching and coordinating models for their fashion shows. Working with Victoria Secret on their annual Fashion Extravaganza would be a dream come true as well.


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