There are few names as synonymous with modern American men’s clothing as Todd Snyder. The designer and entrepreneur, who turned 54 in November, has a decades-long career in menswear that culminated in his homonymous line celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
A key to Snyder’s longevity? Adapt with the times.
“Business has been very good,” he says. “During the pandemic we saw a decline in our tailoring business, but in the second half of 2021 more people are attending events and we have seen a comeback of guys who wanted a tuxedo.”
Some of Snyder’s recent collaborations, including capsules with sports brand Champion and outfitter LL Bean, were among the most requested collections of the year. Snyder recently opened two new brick and mortar stores, at Rockefeller Center in New York City and in Greenwich, Connecticut.
“90% of our sales are made online and [we] see this continue, but we love brick and mortar retail as a point of discovery for the brand, so [visitors will] shop online, ”he says.
Penta met the New York-based designer about the new skills he learned during the pandemic and what he hopes will come back when the world reopens.
My most worn-out garment is … camel hair, double breasted officer coat, with camel on the outside and gray heather on the inside. I can wear it with sneakers or joggers (it’s an easy way to dress the latter). It is quickly becoming one of our bestsellers after being reintroduced this year.
The best book I read last year is … I was late for the game, but loved it Shoe dog [by
]. I love Nike and grew up with the brand. It was a great way to reconnect with my past. I think it coincided with the set The last dance launch of the documentary, remembering all those times, and it was nice to remember the family and the brothers I used to play basketball with. How Nike started and how they did it, it all makes sense. It’s weird because I’m in the industry and you don’t think of those “starting in the garage” times, but it’s a great story.
What wakes me up in the morning is … at the moment, she is my 21 month old baby. One of my favorite things to do that I discovered during the pandemic (because I don’t rush to work) is make her breakfast. It’s my second round to have kids, and I really love waking up with her. Her favorite food (at least this month) is banana pancakes.
What excites me the most about men’s fashion is … there is this ubiquitous streetwear phenomenon and we are seeing this development happening before our eyes. Things used to be a certain way, and now you see a progression, as Kanye, Jerry Lorenzo (or others) start to go through that minimal tonal phase. For me, it’s great to see a lot of attention being paid to menswear right now. Women borrow from styles of men’s clothing and we see it all over the world.
In addition, sustainability is becoming more and more accessible. Five years ago it was really hard to find sustainable options, but now it’s easier to make the right choices. It has been one of the most exciting things.
I can’t wait to travel to … I will go anywhere (Laughs). I’m up for just about anything at this point. I’m going to Michigan to see my daughter for parent’s weekend so I’m excited for that. Selfishly, and a little grander, I can’t wait to return to Japan. I always go to Japan and find amazing things that blow my mind. I remember four years ago I went to a fashion show during Tokyo Fashion Week, and what blew me away was that in America we usually follow Europe, in Japan, they don’t follow anyone. They are there for art.
If I could have a meal with anyone, anywhere, it would be …I’m obsessed with (singer) Benjamin Clementine right now, he’s so talented. (Danish restaurant) Noma was having a pop-up here in New York, and it was the craziest but most delicious meal we’ve had. I loved everything I ate. It was a fun evening and the wine, food and champagne were amazing. Clementine also has an amazing style that is a bit more Broadway, and a more appropriate way of singing that feels like an opera. The combination is interesting and he recently made an appearance in Dune.
The restaurant in my hometown where I like to take visitors is … I’m from Iowa and my favorite place is the High Life Lounge. They only serve beer made before or around 1980. They don’t have Coors Light or anything. The food is very simple and comforting like the fried chicken and mashed potatoes. It’s real and they have a shag rug where you feel like you’re in your dad’s basement.
One of my passions that few people know is … cooking. I always liked it and never had the time, and now I cook meals 5-6 evenings a week. I cook whatever the family wants, but my favorite thing is that my wife made me make a Sunday roast. I put on a roast, cook it for hours, and accompany it with a simple salad of arugula, goat cheese and pear, which I love. My wife worked in London, so the Sunday roast has a different tradition there – it’s eaten a bit earlier in the day, so we have an early dinner at home around 4 or 5. My daughter loves the Sunday roast. It could be beef or chicken, depending on where she is in her appetite. It’s probably 70% of the time successful with it, but it’s getting better.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.