Man About Town: White-Collar Startups

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Man About Town: White-Collar Startups

By Christian Chensvold - 08/11/2015
With law and finance two of the last remaining professions to require a suit and tie, it should come as no surprise how many start-up accessories lines are launched by clotheshorse attorneys and Wall Street types. But recently, while working men's wear market week in New York, I heard one of them say the darnedest thing. When I asked Josh Moore, cofounder of accessories collection Res Ipsa, why so many white-collar guys start clothing lines, he responded, "Maybe because we realize that's our favorite part about going to work."

Moore and his partner Odini Nwakuche are two Atlanta-based lawyers who specialize in accessories, including Prince Albert-type slippers in non-traditional fabrics and patterns. "We were operating the business on weekends and quickly realized which vocation we preferred," says Moore. "It turns out the most fun part of being a real lawyer was getting dressed to go to work every morning. We love helping people stretch their sartorial horizons, and we find it richly rewarding when something we made makes someone feel more confident."

Launched in January 2014, the brand takes its name from the Latin phrase meaning "speaks for itself." And while the men quit their day jobs earlier this year, the conservativism of the legal profession continues to influence the duo's style vision for the brand. "We consider ourselves modern traditionalists, and we make clothes for people who appreciate classic men's wear but lack hidebound adherence to it," adds Moore. 

On the finance side of things is David Herzka, who has yet to quit his day job in corporate finance focused on hedge fund and PE investments. He recently launched a collection of neckties under the name David Fin name in New York and priced from $85-$105. Why neckties, when so many men seem to be shedding them? “Tie sales in the U.S. are currently pretty steady after a long decline,” he says. “I basically wanted to offer men a better tie-buying option then the typical retail shopping experience. We accomplish this by selling our ties at direct to the consumer, cutting out the retail markup which would normally cost over $150 for our quality."

The brand also participates in the Hiring Our Heroes program, giving jobs to armed forces veterans. "This social message is something people enjoy, and we've had close to zero returns."

When preparing to launch the collection, Herzka personally took apart ties from 100 different brands to study the fabrics, lining and hand-stitching. With that kind of expertise and dedication, he, too, may be quitting his day job.


Editor's Note: This is the second article in a new series of dispatches from New York-based men’s wear writer Christian Chensvold. A longtime Apparel contributor, Chensvold is the founder of Ivy-Style.com, a contributor to The Rake,The Wall Street Journal and Ralph Lauren Magazine, and is the author of "The Stylish Life: Golf."