Just let it happen…
The thing that I like most about football season, at least since I discovered that game day was a marathon and not a sprint, is the fellowship that happens after the game. There’s nothing better than gathering on the back porch or a backyard fire pit and really turning it loose with your friends and family. Some nights become pure magic. One of the tools that I use to stoke the fire and invoke that magic is music. I can’t even listen to Van Morrison outside the month of October because of a fire pit experience back in the nineteen and nineties. When I hear his voice, I can practically smell the leaves burning. I’m not sure that what I’m giving you today is going to bring that vibe to your gatherings, but I’m not saying it won’t. A few years ago, I had a Buddy Guy experience and through a concert or an album hearing Jimbo Mathus’ name. I vaguely recalled him from the swing band, Squirrel Nut Zippers, out of Chapel Hill. I was curious because he seemed to be an odd choice for Buddy Guy so I did some research and was happily surprised. The first Jimbo Mathus record that I got turned on to was called “Knockdown South”. It’s eclectic and runs from modern R&B, to boozy riff rock, to heavy Cream-y jams. The guy is definitely an artist. Here’s “Hypmotized” from “Knockdown South”:
I have to admit that a few years went by and I haven’t really been on top of what’s going in his world on a frequent basis. A few days ago, I heard a cut from his new album, “Dark Night of the Soul”, and I had to check it out. Mathus has the whole North Mississippi Hill Country thing going on and I can’t help but put some of this raw edge, primitive stuff in the same basket as R.L. Burnside. It’s howling, ass kicking blues. Understanding that this is an album experience, the definitive tracks for me are: “Dark Night of the Soul”, “Tallahatchie”, “Fire in the Canebreak”, “Medicine”, and “Butcher Bird”. Here’s “Fire in the Canebreak”:
Like most artists, he’s very prolific and can be uneven from time to time, but so can life. There’s still a few weeks to comb through his catalog and set up your playlists accordingly. You can make your late nights a couch burning success or turn it into a Head and the Heart weepfest. The choice is yours, you know what’s right.
Life is about making decisions. Every day we are faced with choice after choice, and our success is based on how well we choose. There are some choices that are tough, and some that are easy. The first time I laid my eyes on a pair of Res Ipsa loafers, the choice was very easy.
Res Ipsa is a menswear company founded by two attorneys based out of Atlanta. Tired of the boring ‘big blue’ suits, ties, and shoes, Odini Nwakuche and Josh Moore took matters into their own hands. First, they produced a line of classically traditional neckwear. The ties’ success initiated a trip to Istanbul to source new fabrics. By chance, they happened upon some vintage kilim rugs, which led to the creation of their wool loafers. What would seem like a large leap from ties to kilim wool loafers has proven to be a very wise choice.
The Res Ipsa loafers are created in the design of the English house slippers, but are made with leather soles and padded leather insoles. The uppers are created from vintage kilim wool rugs, which are sourced from and produced in Turkey. Each design is absolutely unique, and has a character all it’s own.
As for the style, the Res Ipsa loafers are a piece of flare. They do best with a relatively conservative pair of pants or jeans, and quiet shirt. It’s best to let these loafers do the talking for your outfit. Speaking of talking, Odini and Josh gave a little insight to their company:
Who are you two? What’s your history? Res Ipsa is the creation of two Atlanta lawyers, Odini Nwakuche and Josh Moore. Odini: I was born in Nigeria, went to high school in Los Angeles, college at UC Berkeley, and law school at Emory. Josh: I grew up in Statesboro, Georgia, and went to both college and law school at the University of Georgia. Odini: I worked at a large Atlanta-based law firm for several years before taking a job as corporate counsel with a Fortune 100 corporation. Josh: I took the opposite path, working as corporate counsel for a large Atlanta-based electricity producer, then switched gears to work as a litigator with a mid-sized law firm.
What made you start Res Ipsa? We wear ties to work every day. What started as a conversation about how neither of us could find the kinds of ties we wanted to wear turned into an idea to make our own ties. We lamented what we call the Goldilocks problem: most ties are either too wide (3.5-inches is get-off-my-lawn territory) OR too skinny (2.5-inches is great if you’re drummer for the Strokes, but not appropriate for a boardroom or a court room). We spent over a year sourcing fabrics and nailing down design details. If you’ll permit us to nerd-out on tie design for a moment, our ties are all made by hand in America (New York City) and unusual in the marketplace because they’re all precisely 3-inches wide, 57/58-inches long, and have a self-loop, grosgrain neckband, and hand-rolled tip.
Conservative Ties and then Turkish slippers…what’s the story? The loafers are a result of a trip to Istanbul to source fabric. We were in the Grand Bazaar and noticed interesting products made from vintage hand-woven Turkish rugs, or kilim. Kilim is the Turkish expression of the Middle Eastern rug-making tradition that includes Persian rugs. But it was mostly ladies handbags, etc. We were so intrigued that when we walked by a store selling kilim products the next day we went inside for a closer look. To our amazement, the son of the owner had a Georgia driver’s license and a Kennesaw State student ID. He attended college here in Georgia, and returned to Istanbul to work in the family business. He assured us they could create anything we designed. We thought loafers made of kilim in style of a British dress slipper would be really cool. We also designed dopp kits for travel grooming supplies, and carry-on bags for air travel.
What kind of guy is a Res Ipsa customer? We make serious products for people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Res Ipsa is for the young professional–or anyone who doesn’t want to dress like an “old man” — working in a conservative environment but who appreciates the lost art of living well.
Describe men’s style in Atlanta. It’s getting better. We see fewer pleated khakis and blousy shirts. Seriously, men in Atlanta want to look good but this isn’t a city where people are on the cutting edge. Cities like New York and Los Angeles are quick to embrace new brands and push the boundaries (think: Thom Browne suits). But Atlanta is more conservative, and Res Ipsa reflects that aesthetic.
What’s coming down the pike from Res Ipsa? We want to design timeless staples. There are a few investment pieces every guy should own, and we want to be the go-to place for well-made, fairly-priced staples. For example, every guy needs a great oxford shirt (hint).
What’s playing on your iPods? We have similar tastes in music. One new artist we’re both crazy about is St. Paul & the Broken Bones. We also both like Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard. Josh is a huge Elvis Presley fan (and has made multiple trips to Graceland). Odini loves Michael Jackson (but has never been to Neverland) and R&B music. And he’s turning Josh into a fan of Nigerian music (check out Fela, P-Square & D’banj).
Res Ipsa loafers can be found on their website as well as select retailers in Atlanta. Each run is exclusive, and they sell out very quickly, so hurry on over. The loafers are an excellent choice for any closet – men’s or women’s. As Res Ipsa translates from Latin: ‘the thing speaks for itself’.
It doesn’t get much better than Al Green… Enjoy, folks.
Great news, folks – the good folks at Jack Donnelly have released the next iteration of their outstanding Carter pants – the Reds. We’ve talked about the Carters before…they quite possibly might be the greatest 3-season khakis ever made. The addition of the Reds is an excellent move, and helps round out the color pallet.
My buddy Gregg sent over some ‘behind the scenes’ shots so you could see the development…
Picking the right shade:
Ready to rock:
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…one of the best parts about doing Red Clay Soul is finding, meeting, and talking about new brands. I had heard about Bull & Moose from Caroline, and was intrigued. Coincidently, Diego, one of the founders, reached out shortly thereafter.
Bull & Moose is a Veteran-owned start up neckwear business based in Alexandria, VA. They offer excellent silk and seasonal material ties and bow ties – ALL OF WHICH ARE UNDER $75. Thus begs the question – what’s the deal?
From Diego: Bull+Moose is a Veteran owned startup focused on creating luxury quality for your neck, at a fair price, while doing good. Since we launched in the summer of 2013 GQ has compared us to Warby Parker and we’ve been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine, UrbanDaddy, the Palm Beach Illustrated, Fox Business News, Racked, Yahoo! Finance and several others. As a Veteran owned business we’re proud sponsors of the Got Your 6 campaign. Our goal is to provide excellent quality ties for great value for gentlemen who care about looking good without breaking the bank. We achieve this by primarily selling directly to customers via our website. This way we are able to keep prices low, while including free first class shipping. Our factories only use the highest quality silks and seasonal fabrics, and our ties are handmade. Our style is classic prep with an edge.
Their ties speak for themselves. This is the Floral, which is absolutely stunning. It is a cotton tie, so it’s great in the spring or summer, and is just the right width (3″). It’s available in a bow tie (above) and a neck tie (below). The construction is sturdy, and the colors are vibrant. The value proposition here is very high…the price? $29. Yep.
And Red Clay Soul readers, Bull & Moose want to do something great for you – use the code REDCLAYSOUL on receive $5 off your order. Tip ‘o the hat, boys – GREAT work.