Dan Snyder never planned to become a fashion designer. What he planned to be, and then became, was an FBI agent. Snyder was with the Bureau for years and loved his work, but what he didn’t love were his clothes. “I was working at the FBI,” he tells The Manual on a recent call, “and I had all these terribl,e boring olive suits that never fit well. I wanted to get them fixed, get them tailored to fit me better, so I went to this old tailor in D.C., and watching him, I just loved the process.”
The seed was planted that day in that tailor’s shop. In the blink of an eye, Snyder went from never having thought twice about custom clothing design to developing a passion for the process. He borrowed a 1970s-vintage Kenmore sewing machine from his aunt, took some night school classes to learn the basics of clothing design, and began to alter old outfits and make new garments.
Still, for years, Snyder saw clothing design as more hobby than calling. “I was going to transfer over to CIA from FBI and I went to graduate school during the process. I started tailoring clothes on the side just to make money,” he recalls. During an internship with the terrorism division of the NYPD, he “started knocking on doors in the fashion district” of New York City and visiting retailers up and down the East Coast, offering his apparel for sale. More often than not, stores said yes.
Now the paradigm began to shift. Instead of joining the CIA, Snyder took a job with a contractor where he could make more money, thus giving him the breathing room to invest money and time into his clothing design and production. He often worked 19-hour days over the course of a two-year period around the 2013 founding of his label, Corridor, but soon enough, the company was making enough in sales to let Snyder quit the regular workforce and devote all of his efforts to clothing.
Snyder’s unique journey into the world of apparel left him free of many influences of the established fashion world, and it shows in his stripped down designs. His brand is focused on quality fabrics, comfortable fits, and a refined style that’s unique and independent without being assertive.
Both my wife and I practically lived in Corridor clothes during much of the summer (they offer a complete men’s line and a growing number of women’s shirts) and the compliments we received usually ran something along the lines of this: “I’ve never seen a shirt quite like that.”
A Corridor garment won’t catch your eye from across the street but will hold your gaze as you look at the guy next to you in line at the coffee shop or laughing at his phone on the subway. And when you wear a shirt, jacket, or pair of slacks from the company, you feel as good as you look.
Corridor is also unique in that you always know the exact provenance of every garment — and not just via the sourcing from production facilities in Italy, India, Peru, Portugal, and Honduras, but all the way down to one man. Though Corridor clothing now sells in more than 90 shops spread across 16 countries, Dan Snyder, the former FBI guy who just wanted a suit that fit, remains the only designer.
Here are four garments that will give you a snapshot of the brand, but do yourself a favor and browse the lookbooks for yourself.
I’ve been waiting for the temperature to drop so I can wear this soft heavyweight flannel beyond the confines of the air conditioned house. Its print-painted finish with extra small checks brings a depth to its appearance and subtle richness to the pervading shade of blue.
I wore my Colored Gulls shirt at least a dozen times last summer, and as excited as I am to break out the warmer apparel, I’ll miss this one over the winter. It’s made with super soft Japanese cotton and features birds wrought in a style that reminds me of traditional Japanese painting, too.
When the company’s own copy knocks it out of the park, why embellish? Here’s the 4-1-1 right from Corridor: “The Indigo Grainsack is a loosely woven and overdyed 100% cotton milled in Nareto, Italy, cut and sewn in NY on West 35th St, enzyme washed on West 38th and presented to you by us, the people who care deeply about your pants, us.”
If you want to look well-dressed but not lose your cool, Corridor has got you covered. This blazer works fine on top of a pair of jeans or slacks and over a T-shirt, a button-down, or even a great tie. Wear it to work, wear it to fun.
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