• at work with
    AT WORK WITH TODD SNYDER
    Owner and Designer of Todd Snyder, New York City
    Sept 16, 2014  |  BY TARIQ DIXON
    Todd Snyder begins the design process each season with travel - sometimes literal, often imaginative.

    If not sketching from a sidewalk cafe in one of his two favorite cities - London or Tokyo - he'll simply envision himself in a different geography or era. "I like to imagine myself someplace else, and think about how I would dress if I were there. It really gets me out of my element," says the Iowa native, now New York based designer. Without compromising his now signature style, rooted in Saville Row craftsmanship and military tailoring, Todd borrows from varied places and moments in history, discovered through books, movies and his newfound obsession - Pinterest.

    For his upcoming Spring/Summer '15 collection, Todd imagines himself an architect in the 1950s - a counterpart to legends Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Oscar Niemeyer. The collection references both their classic wardrobes and minimalist creations - "linear silhouettes, simple color palettes - very sophisticated," says the designer, who will debut his latest works at next week's New York Fashion Week.

    We visited Todd in his Flatiron showroom and studio, to peek at the collection before it takes the mainstage. Polished, yet sporty, the collection's midcentury influence is apparent, but updated for the brand's forward enthusiasts.
    This blending of influences is equally represented in the physical space itself - an industrial steel table paired with Eames Molded Plywood Chairs, surrounded by Payne's gray walls and antique crown molding - this mashup of classic and contemporary is the perfect complement to Todd's original, yet timeless designs.

    After talking process and inspiration with the designer in his office space upstairs, we travel downtown to his City Gym store in Soho - a collaboration with American icon Champion. The heritage-inspired concept is for the Todd Snyder man, dressed down - his weekend or athletic wardrobe, but with with a similar attitude as the brand's main line. Todd explains how he likes to see his two brands converge - something he already does with his own wardrobe, but would eventually want in a physical space - hinting a new Todd Snyder retail experience potentially on the horizon.

    Go behind-the-scenes with the designer, and shop the collection inspired by the things that inspire him.
  • HOW DOES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS GENERALLY BEGIN EACH SEASON?

    Travel is always a big starting point for me. When I'm traveling, I'm always gathering ideas. I may not use them within that particular season, but I'll often bank ideas and use them later. I'm a huge, huge proponent of Pinterest - I store all of my ideas there. I used to have piles and piles of magazine swipes, but Pinterest is a great way to organize. I keep certain boards private, but I actually share most of my inspiration catalogs on my public account. I like showing my process, and I'm happy if it inspires other people - that's kind of what I love doing.

  • WHEN IT COMES TIME TO ACTUALLY SIT DOWN AND SKETCH, WHERE DO YOU PREFER TO WORK?

    I actually prefer to sketch while I'm traveling too. London is one of my favorite places, and so is Tokyo. I love sitting in a cafe and sketching, while thinking about other things. Even when I'm not traveling, I like to imagine myself someplace else, and think about how would I dress if I were there. It really gets me out of my element. It's always important to maintain your own sense of style, but how should your outfit reflect where you are? I try to put myself in those situations, and think about how I would dress differently in New York versus London versus Saint Tropez.

  • I like showing my process, and I'm happy if it inspires other people - that's kind of what I love doing.

  • WHAT'S THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR UPCOMING COLLECTION?

    It was all inspired by mid-century modern architecture and interiors - very clean, linear silhouettes, simple color palettes, very sophisticated. I've always admired the simplicity of mid-century homes and have wanted to leverage the era as inspiration for a while now. For this collection, I specifically tried to envision what an architect in the fifties would wear. Whether he was in Palm Springs or Chicago, how did he dress, and how can I modernize that?

  • WE HEAR YOU'RE QUITE THE WHISKEY ENTHUSIAST...

    I really got into it five years ago. My drink of choice is Balvenie. There's another one called Templeton Rye that I really like. I think it complements my brand pretty well. Whiskey is a gentleman's drink - rough, but still smooth. And that's how I look at design. I like to have a balance of rugged and sophisticated - modern and vintage - to really blur the lines between those two. I guess those are kind of my 'tricks of the trade' - like using an an old vintage jacket as inspiration, but evolving it into a more modern sensibility.

  • When I'm traveling, I'm always gathering ideas. I may not use them within that particular season, but I'll often bank ideas and use them later.

  • I like to have a balance of rugged and sophisticated - modern and vintage - to really blur the lines between those two.

  • HOW IS THE DNA OF THE CHAMPION COLLABORATION DIFFERENT FROM YOUR MAIN LINE?

    It's almost like a different part of the day - like going to the gym or what you'd where on the weekend. But I personally like mixing everything together and blurring the lines a bit - like wearing a sport coat over a sweatshirt. But this store is more of a pure concept experience created to celebrate Champion, specifically. I wanted this to feel industrial, but modern. The intention was to use a lot of vintage elements, but keep it fairly sparse, so that it still reads contemporary. But ironically, it's not really looking too sparse these days, haha!

  • WHAT'S NEXT FOR TODD SNYDER?

    The landlord is actually going to tear this building down, and putting seven-story condo here, so we're in the process of looking for another space. We're even thinking about doing something where we combine this store with the full Todd Snyder collection - including tailoring, a shoe shop - create a full experience around the brand. For men especially, it's important to have things that complement each other. Once guys feel comfortable with your brand, they want to experience more. I think if we had it all here, in the right environment, then it would sync for the customer.

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