Skip to main content

Meet Up Mondays: Todd Snyder

Image used with permission by copyright holder
In the race to be the next great American designer, few have been more closely watched by retailers and editors than Todd Snyder. A native of Iowa, Snyder learned how to cut and sew classic menswear at the Des Moines haberdashery Badowers. He later went to Polo Ralph Lauren to hone his hand at outerwear and then Gap where he was the director of menswear. By most accounts, though, Snyder is most fondly remembered at J.Crew for energizing its men’s offerings, introducing formalwear and paving the path for exclusive multi-branded collaborations with the likes of Timex, Red Wing, Alden and Thomas Mason, thereby setting off a menswear retail renaissance. In turn, when Snyder finally launched his own namesake collection in the Fall of 2011, retailers from Bergdorf Goodman to Neiman Marcus didn’t hesitate in the least to stock their shelves with Snyder’s cool, understated and luxurious menswear. Today, the CFDA Swarovski Award nominee, GQ Best New Menswear Designer and 2013 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist remains one of the hottest tickets at New York Fashion Week and continues to expand his brand with savvy collaborations such as last year’s match-up with Champion that culminated in the opening of Snyder’s first store called City Gym. We checked in recently with the designer en route to Italy to learn more about his newest outpost in Tokyo and vision for the brand.

Congrats on the new store in Japan! You went big and opened a three-story shop! Tell us what are some of your favorite details of the store and is “big” something we can expect of the New York outpost when it eventually opens?

We originally started out looking for 2-3 small shops in Japan to open concept stores, based around the Todd Snyder brand including a tailor shop, shoe cobbler and the Todd Snyder + Champion collaboration. We stumbled upon this three-story building that had the perfect layout and we could include all of our concept shop ideas under one roof. It’s located in Shibuya on a major street right next door to Paul Smith and with the North Face concept store one block away. The store is amazing and I put everything I love into it. I even added a whiskey bar next to the tailor shop on the third floor. I wanted it to feel like a small boutique department store for men. The vibe is a mix of a New York Gramercy townhouse and Jermyn Street in London. We have over 100 styles of shoes ranging from Alden, Trickers, Grenson, Crocket & Jones and Sanders. My favorite part is the staff and the full-time tailor. They know more about me and the brands that we carry than I do. The next store will be in New York, but I don’t think it will be as big as the Tokyo store unless we find the right place.

Todd Snyder the brand is definitely having a moment. Do you feel like you’ve “arrived” then or is a designer’s work never done?

I don’t think I have arrived, but I have had some good fortune this year. I have a great team and they keep me moving forward. It’s important to evolve each year for our customer. 

Menswear is having its own moment too. What are your thoughts on the industry now?

I think we are in a menswear renaissance of sorts. I feel there is a creative energy around apparel, food, art, music and design right now and men are getting into it. I am shocked at how many 25-year-olds are into Alden shoes and Manhattan cocktails—that’s what my dad wore back in the day. It’s great to see guys getting into wearing ties and suits.

What do you think the next revolution might be in menswear then?

I think tailoring is the next. I think guys want to look cleaner and more refined.

tsLook2You’ve authored quite a number of successful collaborations from your days at J.Crew to Champion. When do you know if a collaboration is going to work?

I know a collaboration will work if it’s the right iconic brand that every man should be wearing. Champion is iconic for athletic apparel and it made sense to bring attention to the item they invented: the sweatshirt. Red Wing was the iconic work boot, so we dug into their archives to bring back the old designs.

Who’d be a dream company to collaborate with and why?

I have a few things in the works that will be announced in a few months. I would love to do furniture with DWR. I love Eames chairs.

Who are some of your greatest mentors in life and in business?

My mother and father are and were the best. My mother is an artist and my father was an engineer. They encouraged me to get into design. I started in architecture and finished in fashion design. They taught to me work hard and be nice. It’s the best advice ever. I have also been fortunate to work for the best in design and business, Ralph Lauren and Mickey Drexler. Mickey and I still talk regularly. He’s been the best mentor anyone could ask for.

tsLook16What’s the one maxim you live by?

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Hopefully I will have a store in New York and one in London. That’s the dream.

Todd’s portrait by Peter Lindbergh.

Editors' Recommendations

Tim Yap
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Contributing writer Tim Yap was born in Kuala Lumpur and lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, Vancouver and Toronto prior to moving…
Watches in this Jack Daniel’s collection feature the brand’s wooden barrels
Want a whiskey barrel watch face?
Original Grain Jack Daniel's watch collection in case

The best things in life tend to combine multiple passions, so if your favorite Tennessee whiskey is Jack Daniel’s and you love stylish wristwear, then your time may have come. The legendary bourbon distillery has partnered with watchmaker Original Grain to produce a series of timepieces celebrating its heritage and brand. The collection in question has been aptly named The Original Grain x Jack Daniel’s watch collection.

All of the watches come with a very unique twist. Wood from the barrels Jack Daniel’s uses to mature its famous spirit is used in their manufacture. Alongside the bourbon-stained American oak, you may also see some charcoal and limestone. The charcoal is a reference to the filtering process Jack Daniel’s goes through during its mellowing phase, and the limestone is a nod toward the Cave Spring Hollow. That’s where the water used to make the whiskey is sourced.

Read more
Orange watches: Our top picks from Richard Mille, TAG Heuer, and more
Our top picks for orange watches for men
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 Automatic promo shot

Like a ripe Valencia orange, bursting with juice and color and plucked off the tree at the perfect time, orange watches for men will zest up your wristwear game. In a sea of monochrome monotony, where the average watch is usually blue or black with a stainless steel bracelet, orange watches will certainly have you standing out.

Orange is not only a great way to add a pop of color to your wardrobe, but the color has major significance and use. No, we're not talking traffic cones, Halloween pumpkins, and other unsightly things that famously use the color. It's also seen in a Tuscan sunset, used as a way to see better in the depths of the ocean, or sometimes aids as a symbol of an organization or good cause like environmental conservation.
Orange watches for men: Our top 5 picks

Read more
If you’re a fan of cycling, then you’ll love this new Tudor watch
Tudor releases watch to commemorate Giro d'Italia
Pelagos FXD Chrono Tudor Pro Cycling Team Edition on wrist

On May 4, the Giro d'Italia kicked off, with cyclists embarking on a challenging (a simple word for the mind-boggling, grueling race) journey that spans 3,400 kilometers across 21 stages. It started in Venaria Reale and will conclude on May 26 in the land of pasta and pizza, Rome. The Giro d'Italia has an incredibly long history dating all the way back to 1909, but this year promises an entirely modern update with the addition of the Tudor Pro Cycling Team. Naturally, the Tudor watches has introduced a new timepiece to commemorate what is their first Grand Tour.

The Pelagos FXD Chrono Tudor Pro Cycling Team Edition, a watch so sturdy it can certainly handle the long name, might look familiar to fans of the brand, as it looks just like the Tudor Pelagos FXD Chronograph Alinghi Red Bull edition from last year. However, as is true of the brand, this Tudor watch embraces some technical specifications that make it perfect for the sport it represents.
The Pelagos FXD Chrono Tudor Pro Cycling Team Edition

Read more