Todd Snyder’s new Georgetown shop showcases the storied designer’s latest passions, including reimagined chinos, smart blazers, and art to inspire a lost Saturday.
The seersucker Playa shirt in white, Japanese relaxed fit Selvedge chino in white, and Tuscan leather thong cross sandals in black
Todd Snyder (toddsnyder.com) recently opened his eponymous shop on Georgetown’s M Street. It’s a place for gents to hang out for a while and consider summer looks. The legendary men’s designer sat down with us to discuss his new space, closet essentials, and his epiphany when he saw Ralph Lauren’s flagship New York City store for the first time.
Desiger Todd Snyder
You’ve carved out a niche that produces essential men’s pieces with a luxury sensibility. Is that a fair assessment?
Yes, it is. For example, customers will find a cashmere sweat-shirt or trucker jacket in Italian suede. We do all of our tailoring in either Italy or Portugal. We put a lot of quality into the products because our customers consider their clothes an investment.
What are a few essentials you have in your closet?
A navy suit. It’s the most versatile piece in your wardrobe. You can also break it up by wearing the jacket with a pair of jeans or wearing the trousers with a tee shirt. So, I always look at the suit as an excellent investment. And then the second piece is a great pair of jeans. I typically go for a dark, unwashed pair because of their versatility. I also love our chinos, crafted from a Selvedge Japanese fabric made on an old loom—the way things were made back in the 1940s and 1950s. For shoes, we collaborate with Alden (aldenshoe.com) on the Indy boot—a look from the first Indiana Jones
I’ve believed for a long time that social media and the NBA—especially what players wear in pre-and post-game interviews—have had a significant impact on men’s fashion. Your thoughts?
I agree. The NBA is probably the most significant vehicle for our brand. It’s the new fashion runway. How players prepare for the game has become a photo op, and players dressing up is part of this ritual. Camelo Anthony is a big fan of our brand, and we’re excited to see him wearing our clothes.
Italian linen Madison sport coat in khaki and Italian linen Gurkha trouser in cream.
Men’s fashion continues to evolve. What makes it so attractive to you?
The reinvention of retail. Direct-to-consumer has become cooler and edgier. For example, an active-wear brand might have devised a better and more enticing way to make pants and can reach customers directly. Also, customer behavior is fascinating to me. I can locate all of my customers via a heat map, which dictates where we open stores.
I read your fashion origin story. It had some twists!
[Laughs] I’m originally from Iowa and went into finance in college. Like many young people, I had a moment where I wondered what I was doing and thought it was foolish. So, I worked in a tailor shop and taught myself how to sew. My grandmother told me our name means ‘tailor’ in Dutch, and that’s all I needed to hear, thinking it was in my blood somehow. I moved to New York in 1992. I couldn’t afford designer clothes, so I started making most of my clothes with some of the best fabric remnants in the world. I simply loved making clothes; there’s an art to it.
Navy floral camp collar shirt and 5-inch Montauk swim short in navy floral
You still believe in the power of fashion retail.
I do. People still enjoy a day of shopping, and it’s become a form of entertainment. Customers also want options and convenience, whether it’s a frictionless purchase online or stopping by a store. We started publishing a catalog that has become another tool for customers to have a 360-degree experience.
The new Todd Snyder store in Georgetown
And what about a store experience?
It’s all about the environment, which you’ll immediately notice when visiting our Georgetown store. Visiting a store conveys the entire idea of a brand. I remember the first day I walked into Ralph Lauren’s flagship mansion in New York and thought, ‘Oh my god, this is amazing!’ I felt the brand and wanted to be a part of it. For us, we curate the paint, the artwork, and the furniture. We used to sell our furniture and art but quickly realized we’d have bare walls and space since we only had one-of-a-kind pieces!
Photography by: COURTESY OF TODD SNYDER