When friends Josh Moore and Odini Gogo were traveling in Istanbul several years ago, they had a fashion revelation.
Intrigued by the colorful kilim rug items sold in a local shop, they decided to abandon their law careers and launch their own accessories line, Res Ipsa, based on the one-of-a-kind woven designs.
“Shoes created an interesting opportunity, because they’re hard to do,” said Moore, who launched the New York-based brand online in 2014, followed by a move into wholesale in 2015. “Since it’s a daunting segment of the market, we thought there was some opportunity for us to stand out.”
The partners selected a name that would express the spirit and international flavor of the label, opting for a Latin phrase that means “The thing speaks for itself.”
Res Ipsa’s line of men’s and women’s footwear is produced in Turkey and includes a loafer and slip-on sneaker covered with various kilim rug uppers, retailing for $165 and $375. A bag collection sells for $135 and $495. Although the kilim designs remain the brand’s signature, today they account for only 20 percent of the line.
“They’re attention-grabbing, but we also have contemporary [looks] with our own spin,” said Gogo, noting the addition of herringbone and tweed fabrics.
Res Ipsa targets professional men between 25 and 45, living in Los Angeles and New York. “They’re typically creative types who have more leeway in their professional dress and who like to travel,” said Moore.
Since the brand’s launch, sales have doubled each year, with e-commerce accounting for 40 percent of business. In addition to its own website, Res Ipsa is sold in The Locker Room in Montgomery, Ala.; Elements in San Marino, Calif.; and Lansky Bros. in Memphis, Tenn.
Moore noted his team is selective about its partners and tends to perform best in specialty stores. “We realize our [line is] special and it takes time to tell consumers the story,” he said. “Retailers have to be enthusiastic about the product.”