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  Wish Anniversary Fashion Show 11.4.99
by Sabrina Sexton Weil

Color photos: Sabrina Sexton Weil
Black and white photos: Thomas Tulis

Sabrina Sexton WeilI remember the day my roommate returned to then-home Athens after a day shopping in Little Five Points.

"Sabrina," she said, "there's a new store in Little Five Points that you and Jason would love. It's got all these cool raver clothes and it's called Wish."

Little did she know that she had witnessed the beginning of an era.

Wish fashion showAs Wish grew and thrived in its Little Five location, the store quickly gained a reputation as the place to go find that perfect party outfit. With dj's on turntables and cute staff — not to mention the great clothes and accessories — Wish had the formula for success in the underserved streetwear market.

As Wish celebrated their anniversary with a fashion show at Deux Plex, I caught up with Arman Reyes, manager of the Little Five Points location, to discuss what makes Wish so fabulous.

When did Wish first arrive in Atlanta?
Well, in 1999 Wish celebrates 6 years of being in business. It's quite an experience being part of such a young and thriving company.

Wish modelWhat sort of items does Wish carry? What brands?
One of the most impressive concepts behind Wish is diversity. We can truly say we cater to a myriad of styles and genres. We're on the forefront of everything from the fashion forward to urbanwear to clubwear. Our most popular lines are Mecca, Diesel, Luscious, Reactor+, Label Whore, AlphaNumeric, Ecko, Mooks, Enyce, and UFO.

What is the philosophy behind the Wish stores?
The most important philosophy behind Wish is fashion forward. We like to think of ourselves as on the 'cutting edge' of trends. It's really funny seeing commercials on TV (i.e. Gap and Old Navy for tech vests and cargo pants) on items similar to things we've carried for over two years.

When Wish first moved to Gwinnett, some people thought the store was "selling out." What do you think about that move?
Well, when Wish first moved out of the perimeter, the initial concept was another flag store much like the one in L5P — dope clothes, a hip staff, and the ever present dj booth. The Gwinnett store actually exceeded the Little 5 Points store with the addition of a skateboard ramp. After numerous meetings with the Gwinnett Place Mall management, the decision was made by the former Wish CEO to divide the concepts by having all the fashion inside the mall and all skate apparel and equipment in the outside store. I, personally, think the move was brilliant just for convenience — a lot of kids living outside of the perimeter (as well as in Athens) had an easier time to get to their much needed fliers, cool gear, and presale tickets.

Wish model What are some of the hottest items in the stores for this season?
It seems like the party crowd is slowly but surely moving away from the obnoxious 30 inch and larger bottom jeans and getting used to the concept of drawstring bottoms (UFO, Kikwear, etc.). There's also been a keen interest in dressing a little sharper as the boys are moving away from the same old t-shirt and jeans routine and replacing them with some cool button-ups, sweater vests, and cargo pants while the girls are trying on long skirts, apron tops, and even some catsuits.

What can we expect to see at Wish as we move into the next millennium?
Be on the lookout for our makeover project. By the year 2000, we hope to have our new logo as well as a fresh new look for both stores. In 1999 we received awards for being the 'Best Hip Clothing Store-Critics Choice' in Creative Loafing, 'Best Hip Clothing Store-Reader's Choice' in Gwinnett Loaf, and 'Best Men's Clothing Store-Reader's and Critic's Choice' in InSite the year 2000, we're hoping to defend and uphold those titles. We've also been playing around with the idea of invading new cities with the Wish concept.

Wish model Why do you think Wish has been so successful?
Divide and Conquer. I can honestly say one of the integral parts of Wish's success was our former buyer/L5P diva, Lan Ngo. Lan kept Wish on the forefront of fashion trends and in the eyes of the hip hop community. Wish was already considered the epicenter of Atlanta's underground music scene; it was just a matter of taking it to the next level by expanding. I chose to go in the opposite direction of the former public relations rep and avoided alienating specific djs and production companies.

What do you try to accomplish with the fashion shows?
There's so many different reasons for me putting on fashion shows. It's a great way to promote the clothes, showcase djs, and totally abandon the concept of traditional fashion shows. Most fashion shows, in my opinion, just do not entice people to want to wear the clothes they see. The shows I put on are exactly that...they're shows, not walks. You'll see theatrics, you'll see a lot of dancing, you'll see a lot of crowd I said, I like to break down the concept of traditional fashion shows.

Why do your shows sometimes benefit charities?
Well, we're not a production company, but we tend to have a pretty strong pull as far as attendance goes. The models and djs are usually willing to trade in their time and effort for gift certificates and some free cocktails. With that theory in mind, I felt the money at the door should benefit a good cause.

Wish What else would you like people to know about Wish?
Well, we have a really cool sister store out in Seattle, Washington, called ZebraClub. So, if you're ever out west be sure to swing by and check them out. Also be sure to check out our resident djs/employees Wednesday and David M. I also know some of our kids have been taking advantage of the turntables out in our Gwinnett store so watch out for their names popping up on fliers in Atlanta.

For more information, contact Wish Little Five Points at 404/880.0402 or Wish in Gwinnett Place Mall at 770/814.0940.

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Wish fashion show Wish fashion show Wish fashion show
Wish fashion show Wish fashion show Wish fashion show

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