Celebrating 75 years of the NBA, the Philly throwback purveyor picked an Atlanta boutique with the perfect pulse on balling on and off the court.
For decades, fly hoopers and eccentric artists have called Atlanta home.
From Dominique Wilkins to The Dungeon Family, the core of The Peach State has the juice when it comes to finding new flavors. Julie Hogg has been at the center of it all.
Because of her deep familiarity with the city, her current role at Wish ATL is never not exciting.
“We don’t attract a boring customer,” Hogg told Boardroom.
Since taking the reigns at Wish ATL, Hogg has merged her history of hoops with a love for fashion. Franchise favorites shop at the store while rap royalty keep her on speed dial. Though texts from friend Killer Mike keep her phone buzzing and receipts from Renee Montgomery keep the lights on, a phone call from a Philly number recently put Hogg and her team on high alert.
On the other end of the line was the creative brass behind throwback merchandise titan Mitchell & Ness.
Mitchell & Ness rang the right woman.
Digging Through the Crates
Upon receiving the 411 from the 267, Hogg and her team began searching through the Hawks’ history — pulling archival arrival photos and past team logos for inspiration.
The passion of the “Pistol” Pete Maravich era came through just as much as the sentiment of OutKast’s “Player’s Ball” vision.
“They didn’t give us any restraints on what we could use,” Hogg said, smiling.
Channeling creativity from the silky furs and outlandish lids of the ’70s, Wish ATL and Mitchell & Ness cooked up a Hawks collection complete with velour tracksuits, fuzzy bucket hats, and retro ringer tees. The Hawk hues of red and yellow were enriched to be burgundy and peach, playing off the rich sweetness of the city with gold accents to boot.
While Lou Hudson put up 20 a night in mesh back then, the cozy cloth throughout the Homecourt Collection caters to the players who continue to make moves in the city off the court.
“It lends itself to an Atlanta fabric for sure,” explained Hogg. “Velour always has a sporty feel. It’s part of Atlanta’s culture. When you look at the music scene, it’s always there in some form regardless of what’s going on in the fashion world.”
Though Mitchell & Ness started in the city where Julius Irving jammed, the throwback brand became fitted for the future at a stand in Atlanta’s famed Lennox Mall.
Not only is the brand right at home with Wish ATL, it never truly left the city and culture that quickly adopted it.
As the story goes, Big Boi brought the Mitchell & Ness throwback jersey from the stand in the mall to the countdown shows on TV. Whether records with Raekwon or guest spots with Goodie Mobb, the left-footed half of OutKast kept an authentic jersey from M&N on his back in music videos dating back to 1998.
Around that time, an up-and-coming producer named Kanye West would travel to Atlanta to make beats for Jermaine Dupri, and he would travel back to New York’s Bassline Studios with a locker full of freshness from Mitchell & Ness. JAY-Z quickly caught on, making Mitchell & Ness the hottest brand in hip-hop for the early aughts.
While some cities shelved their throwbacks in favor of button-ups or streetwear, ATL remained loyal.
“The jersey thing has never stopped in Atlanta,” Hogg said. “Mitchell & Ness is a staple, and we always have a Dominque jersey in the store. It’s a longstanding history with the city.”
Thanks to Wish ATL, history continues.
Pulling up her Rolodex of royalty, Hogg sought out Atlanta legends such as Big Tigger, Don Cannon, and Kenny Burns to model the collection.
Her hoop connections still prove strong as the seeding list for the collaboration includes rising Hawks such as John Collins, Kevin Huerter, and Trae Young, as well as retired talent such as Wilkins and Steve Smith.
Aside from having Mitchell & Ness make tall versions of the pants strictly for the hoop heroes, Hogg is busy bringing the collection to life at Wish ATL where floor-to-ceiling banners celebrate the 75th anniversary of the league and fans young and old pull up to purchase the latest homage to the past.
Fans outside of the city can cop the collection online or through the Hawks’ team store, but this spirited collaboration is just the latest chapter between the brand that brought throwbacks back and the city that’s always kept them alive.