What do NFL standouts Takeo Spikes, Julio Jones, and John Abraham and the hottest Atlanta MCs Trinidad James, Rocko, and 2Chainz have in common? Their fashion sense comes from one man who defines the culture. Kwassi, owner of Moda 404, has been cultivating Atlanta’s fashion market since 2005 and is the number one supplier when you need to strut the latest threads. New York raised, but Atlanta bred, Kwassi understands the importance of looking fresh, and hustling.
This is the only city in America where anybody can be successful if you put your heart in it,” he says.
Located in the heart of the city, Moda 404 has the latest brands, products, and designs to serve the distinguish men of Atlanta. “Tell me your budget, I will work with you. Clothing not only reflects who you are, but who you aim to be,” The three man team of Adam Clark, Kwassi, and Lee Rockwell. Moda 404 keeps Atlanta’s fashion scene up to date.
How did you begin the Fashion Industry?
I went to school to study Internationol business of Clark Atlanta University. After I graduated from Clark, I didn’t want to work (in a) corporate office. Fashion has always been in my blood; during school I had a couple of jobs working retail clothing stores, on the sales fioor.
When I graduated there were no jobs in 1999.1 think it was because of the Y2K scare (laughs). I was living in New York but could not find a job. I ended up staying in Atlanta working at the Polo Store. I eventually crossed over to the Ralph Lauren end, selling custom made suits to different entertainers such as Ludacris, Busta Rhymes and Chaka Zulu.
In 2005 with a couple of friends of mine, we started a company and named it Moda 404. Located in Buckhead, right on Pharr RD across the street from the Atlanta Fish Market we opened up and started business. There were no high end men boutiques in Atlanta and I had the clientele. At the time the recession started to hit, and it hit hard. lost business partners but I met a lady named Lee Rockwell who shored the some ambition and the dream. We got together partner up and took over.
We relocated because they never finished building the streets of Pharr Rd. There were supposed to be high end boutique stores such as Gucci and Chanel but it never finalized.
We moved to Peachtree. In retail location is always the key to success. Everything is located on Peachtree RD, so it worked out for us. Clientele grew from word of mouth and we kept growing.
How did you start getting high-end celebrity clients?
Ralph I aureri is a brand fhaf sells itself. When you work for the corpargtion in retail you never know what opportunities you have to bund a clientele list. You can’t judge a book by its cover In order to be a great salesman you nave to look the part. I transformed my wardrobe to look the role.
Every season the company gave us a budget for a wardrobe. They took it out our paycheck, but I looked at it as investing in myself. I literally transformed myself to a spokesperson for the apparel. Whenever I was out and about, I always carried a business card.
Wherever I went, whether if I was in the hood or Prestigious neighborhood… Buckhead, people asked ‘Hey where you get that suit from?’ I told them where I worked and gave them my business card.
How important is the use of Social Media when promoting Moda 404?
Huge! Really, social media has helped Moda 404 kick it up a notch. We really started off with word of mouth but as Social Media grew, we get a lot of business from it. Whether its Twitter or Facebook, there all great but Instagram works best for me.
The thing I love about Instagram is a picture is worth 1000 words. I can post a pair of new sneakers online and the next day my phone is blowing up. i love instagraming the latest and exclusive brands such as John Galliano which is an independent Italian brand or Blood Sweat and Tears from L.A. These brands are very exclusive and no one else carries them in the city.
So when my clients see them online, they want to be the first seen with it on. Also a product might sit in the store for a couple of months, for example a spoof shirt named Calm the fuck down. I instagramed the shirt, and the next day I was sold out.
As a Stylist what are some key elements every man should consider when shopping?
Having a navy blue, charcoal gray or black suit in the closet will give you an educated look. Also keep a pair of nice shoes and a clean pair of denim, because you can wear that with a blazer to give you an expensive distinguished gentleman look. A pocket square shirt if you want to wear a tie also helps. A basic wardrobe should be a blazer, nice shirt, pair of denim, nice pair of casual shoes and a pocket square and of course some nice Lucas frames.
Name some of your favorite designers and share your favorite looks among clients you worked with have so many of them but my main favorite designers would be Rick Owens, Asloainai Frantico bernana, and Ysell. There’s many more out there but for the most part those are my favorite.
What do your clients ask for you most?
Everybody has Gucci and Louis Vurttion. But my clients like to have exclusive brands like John Gialliano. Roberto Cavalli and exotic sneakers that are not known to the public.
What are the Dos and Don’ts in some of the latest trends for Men?
Number one Don’t is sagging of the pants. Showing your underwear is a major no-no. You see guys wearing Tru Religion but that’s played out, they had a good run now it’s over. A Do is always to keep clean denim with some nice sandals. The cleaner the Denim the more value they add to you.
What goals and or projects can we look forward to?
Atlanta is a growing in the fashion industry. Moda 404 is just a small business in the big fashion world. We are looking to expend our brand and open up a boutique in Miami.
We are looking to serve internationally At the end of the day, we are the only Boutique that survived the recession in Atlanta. Fashion is something that repeats itself and it’s our life.
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