Todd Snyder: A Style Expert for the Modern Man

The award-winning designer puts his spin on attainable luxury and the future of men’s fashion

By Karen Giberson

In 2016, a detour through Madison Square Park took designer Todd Snyder past a vacant storefront on 26th Street. Snyder, one of America’s premier menswear designers, had — at the time — recently launched his namesake brand but there was something about the empty building, the location, and the timing that captured his attention.

“There weren’t any other retailers on the block,” he said. “But the space felt perfect. I loved the idea of having my first store face the park.”

His path to 26th Street, aka Madison Square North (between Madison and Fifth Avenue), was paved by years of hard work in the fashion industry. After graduating from the University of Iowa, he moved to New York City and quickly landed his first job in the sportswear department at J. Crew. Two years later, he was recruited by Old Navy. The experience, which included a great deal of travel, gave him a better understanding of the world and opened his eyes to global fashion styles and culture. “I loved it,” he said.

That aesthetic has gone a long way toward setting the tone of the designer’s New York City flagship store (which opened in December 2016), where denim hangs next to cashmere and fine leather goods and accessories complement bespoke tailoring services. This beautifully-designed showcase is a true gem, with custom fixtures, large fitting rooms, on point lighting, and a sound system that plays a curated mix of hip hop, jazz, rock, and a steady rotation of Tom Petty and The Nationals — two of the designer’s favorites. The vibe here is quintessential modern American gentleman; signature essentials and statement pieces. It is, in some ways, a metaphor for NYC itself.


Snyder, who can often be found in the flagship or walking around the neighborhood, lives nearby on 28th Street. “I spend most of my time in a five-block radius,” he said, noting that he logs a great deal of toddler time in Madison Square Park with his three-and-a-half year old. When he isn’t dining at The Clocktower or Marks Off Madison, he’s likely strolling through Eataly. “I just visited the Portrait Bar at The Fifth Avenue Hotel,” he told us. “Get there fast — before it becomes so popular you won’t get a seat.” (We tried. Too late.)

The Library Bar at The Ned — where he is a member — is one of the designer’s favorite meeting spots, and for fun, he likes to browse through Rizzoli, work on his swing at Premier Indoor Golf, or check out the latest exhibits at The Museum of Math.

This affinity for New York City is deeply ingrained in the Todd Snyder DNA. There’s simply no way to separate the two. As he continues to redefine how modern American men can present themselves to the world in stylish, unexpected ways, his apparel and accessory designs are rooted in an attainable, sometimes whimsical sense of luxury. He resides on the cutting edge of fashion retail and is always looking for unexpected ways to push creative boundaries.

While he was working for Old Navy, Snyder caught the attention of legendary retailer and industry giant Mickey Drexler, who quickly became an inspiration and mentor to the young designer. Years later, when Drexler joined J. Crew, he recruited Snyder to come back to his previous employer, this time to lead the menswear design division for the company. “Todd Snyder was a down-to-earth nice person, but importantly, he stood out for his great design talent — which is exemplified by his success over the years,” said Drexler, who credits Snyder for J. Crew’s collaboration with Red Wing shoes, a first for the brand. At the time, collaborations were not as common as they are today and the innovative idea kicked off a string of successful partnerships that heightened awareness of both J. Crew and its partner brands.


During Snyder’s tenure at J. Crew, the menswear business accelerated, doubling in size over a few short years. The crowning achievement was the opening of a dedicated J. Crew menswear shop — the first of its kind — at the Liquor Store at 235 Broadway in Tribeca. The forward-thinking concept shop mixed signature J. Crew styles with vintage items, garnering a great deal of media attention. According to Drexler, the strategic move “put J. Crew menswear on the map."

Shortly after the initial success of J. Crew at the Liquor Store, Snyder — who was turning 40 — decided he was ready for a new challenge. He walked into Drexler’s office and resigned. Drexler told us he “may” have been initially disappointed, but stressed that the two have remained friends.

In 2011, the self-funded Todd Snyder brand was launched and success came quickly. In 2012, the designer won both the prestigious CFDA (Council for Fashion Designers of America) Menswear Designer of the Year award and GQ’s Best New Menswear Designer honor. His collections, which he described as “attainably-priced reinvented staples and modern versions of American classics,” had a robust distribution network and were sold by a who’s who list of leading retailers, as well as on the brand’s eponymous website. Even with sales of $20 million, Snyder, who was only taking a modest salary at the time, struggled to keep funding and growing the company.

Enter American Eagle. In 2015, it purchased the brand for $11 million in a deal that opened up revenue streams to grow the business, shut down wholesale distribution, and enabled the designer to spend more time on development and design — as well as the opening of his NYC flagship store. In a unique twist of fate, when a struggling J. Crew closed the Liquor Store in 2019, Snyder jumped on the opportunity to take over the lease, balancing the smaller space as a kind of retail satellite to his larger flagship store. Today, Todd Snyder has 14 stores across the country with more in development, and his direct-to-consumer business clocks in at $100 million.

The list of Todd Snyder fans is long and impressive; 201k Instagram followers and a celebrity clientele that includes The Rock and the Jonas Brothers. The Todd Snyder catalog, which is more like a mini magazine, comes out eight times a year, and features stories on well-known personalities like actor Matt Bomer of Bridgerton, Fellow Travelers, and Maestro fame.

Todd Walking

A visit to the NoMad flagship is often one that is filled with surprises. The artfully curated mix of the designer’s apparel and accessories rubs shoulders with shop-worthy items from RoToTo Socks, Aesop, D.S. & Durga candles, Moscot sunglasses, Hestra gloves, and a select menu of footwear from Nike, New Balance, and Birkenstock. Ongoing collaborations include partnerships with Champion Sportswear, Timex watches, and Private White V.C. outerwear, among others.

In 2019, Todd Snyder won the Accessories Council Designer of the Year ACE Award, which recognized his impressive accomplishments. He has plans to return to the runway this month at Pitti Homo, one of the world’s most respected men’s fashion events. According to Women’s Wear Daily, “Snyder was selected because he is considered by industry insiders as one of the most influential American menswear designers of his generation.”

A point, in fact, that no one in the industry would argue against.