A Day with Todd Snyder
New York City based designer and Iowa native, Todd Snyder allowed us to visit him in his NYC store to give start to our ‘a day with’ series. Todd Snyder is a leading force in the American menswear fashion scene and a permanent member of the CFDA. Todd Snyder has made the right moves at an early age to help cement his spot amongst the top brands that showcase during New York Fashion Week Men’s. Todd Snyder makes effortless everyday luxuries for the modern gentleman. Blending Savile Row craftsmanship with a downtown New York aesthetic, the line is relaxed, refined and always impeccably tailored.
Snyder has been named one of GQ’s Best New Menswear Designers, a CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year nominee, and a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist. He studied textile and clothing design at Iowa State University before training at Badowers, the renowned Des Moines haberdashery, and held important roles at Polo Ralph Lauren, the Gap, and J.Crew. Who better than Todd Snyder to showcase a typical day in the life of a leading fashion designer? Follow along and read all about our day with Todd Snyder.
MFP: From Iowa to New York, how has the environment impacted the design process?
TODD: I think being from Iowa has given me an edge. I know what an average person sees as "too fast," being from NY, I know what is "too boring." If you want to stay in business it’s always a balance of commercial design vs avant-garde design. I have a very pragmatic design approach that I learned in architecture school.
MFP: For those who do not know about Savile Row, how would you describe this street and it’s importance to your design?
TODD: Savile Row of the old world was the best place you could buy a “proper" suit. Most of the shops were Bespoke (custom). Tailoring was an art, handed down generation to generation, most of the suits were made by hand. Each tailor had their own style and quality came first. Savile Row represents the best in tailoring and tradition. I like mixing that with a younger sensibility to make it more modern.
MFP: What is the key ingredient in Todd Snyder that has resonated so well with the Japanese market?
TODD: I think being authentic and having a classic American vibe with a twist has really helped us in the Japanese market. I love Japan and I visit 2-3 times per year. It’s a huge inspiration for me. I love how they interpret western fashion in their own way. Also, I think our collaborations with iconic American brands like Champion, Timex and Alden have made us very popular there as well.
MFP: With the age of the internet, how has Todd Snyder leverage the use of the internet to expand the brand and continue the success?
TODD: Our online site is our best asset and our biggest business. It allows people outside of New York to get to know us. Since opening our Madison Park store people have discovered who we are and what we are trying to do. The internet is the best way for people to stay in touch with us. We want to be the place that men go to look their best. Today you’ll find a lot of gimmick brands trying to get you to shop with them but they lack taste and experience.
MFP: As someone who help start the collaboration trend, what is an upcoming collaboration that you can share with us or a collaboration that you would like to engage in?
TODD: I love collaborations. It’s what made me famous at J.Crew and now I’ve been able to really make it my own. I enjoy antique shopping and remaking items for today a modern edge. I have some really cool ones coming up, but they are a surprise. I wish I could tell you but I can tell you they will be cool.
MFP: What new projects are there in store for Todd Snyder?
TODD: We are hyper focused on making the shopping experience the best it can be. It’s our first priority. Our online business has grown exponentially in the past year and our Madison Park store is just a year old. We are acquiring a ton of new customers everyday and we need to make sure they are happy. We just opened our barbershop, Kin Room by Robin Capali, a month ago and it’s packed…I can’t even get an appointment.
MFP: In recent years the menswear industry has seen an incredible growth, what do you think is some of the contributing factors to this? By the same token, how have you utilized this to help Todd Snyder grow?
TODD: Menswear is definitely having a moment. I see a lot of opportunity, more men are wanting to dress better and aren’t afraid of fashion like they were 10 years ago. There is a lot of competition out here and everybody seems to have an idea for a label. Lately I’ve seen a lot of gimmick brands starting up, but I don’t think they will last. They lack two main ingredients: taste and experience. Too many brands rely on algorithms to get ahead and that is not sustainable. I love young companies like John Elliot and Warby Parker. They have built great brands and have staying power.
MFP: For those who look up to Todd Snyder, what advice can you share to aspiring designers that can help them move one step closer to their goals?
TODD:I have 3 things that I always tell young students. Work hard, innovate and most of all...be nice!! It’s amazing to me how many people mess that last part up. I am a testament that nice guys can finish first.
MFP: Fashion design in itself is an art form, what can you share about your process that is key in being a successful creative regardless of the art being created?
TODD: My mother is an artist and she’s my inspiration. She always taught me to feel and experience everything. I love to watch people and travel. It’s my creative input. I get inspired by life (music, art, travel, food, people, movies) it’s how I start every season.
Photography by Leo Chang for Men's Fashion Post