Res Ipsa: Two Atlanta lawyers go from torts to ties

Odini Nwakuche and Josh Moore
Photograph by Josh Meister

Every law student knows res ipsa loquitur, Latin for “the thing speaks for itself,” first applied in an 1863 lawsuit in which a barrel fell from a window and hit a passerby. The court ruled in the plaintiff’s favor because the facts were so clear.

That simplicity is why two Atlanta lawyers, Josh Moore and Odini Nwakuche, chose the term for their line of ties, loafers, and bags, which launched in January and is now available online and at H. Stockton. Like a pair of sartorial Goldilockses, they could only find ties that were too wide—Seinfeldesque—or too narrow for a starched-collar environment. They agreed that the magic width is a relatively modern three inches, and began producing their own neckwear.

Photograph by Ryan Hayslip

Moore and Nwakuche use traditional fabrics, including grenadine silk from a mill in Italy (which also produces fabric for the Pope’s robes), Scottish wools and tartans, and a tight silk-cotton weave called Mogador made in England. Patterns are jaunty but familiar: stripes, dots, fox heads, tartans. The pair even tracked down the official State of Georgia tartan (who knew?—shown left on Nwakuche) and found a mill in Scotland to re-create the pattern, a light blue and red crossed with a Black Watch. Moore and Nwakuche also created a green-and-white striped pattern in homage to the Nigerian flag. Nwakuche, thirty-three, came to the U.S. from Nigeria to attend U.C. Berkeley, moved to Atlanta for law school at Emory, and is now an attorney for Cisco Systems. Moore, thirty-eight, is originally from Statesboro, went to UGA for undergraduate and law school, and works at Balch & Bingham.

Res Ipsa’s ties are handmade in New York by a manufacturer who has produced ties for Ralph Lauren and Sid Mashburn, and feature details like a self loop, a hand-rolled tip, and a grosgrain band behind the neck. Neither Moore nor Nwakuche has a background in design, but they say their knowledge of the law is useful. “We think of risk,” says Nwakuche. “We see things through the lens of a lawyer.”

But some risks are worth taking. While traveling in Istanbul last fall, the pair stopped in a kilim shop. When they told the storekeeper they were from Atlanta, he whipped out a Kennesaw State University ID. He’d just returned to his family business. Taking it as a sign, they hired him and introduced colorful kilim loafers, Dopp kits, and duffels. Next up? An Oxford shirt, due out this fall.

Guys style
Depending on your office, you might be able to go sockless on casual Fridays. Summer is the season to do something unexpected with your footwear, like rock a pair of wool loafers or two-tone spectators, say Nwakuche and Moore.