Some people are heralding Todd Snyder as “the next great American menswear designer,” potentially set to join the ranks of Calvin, Tommy and Ralph. The reign of that triumvirate of American menswear designers has spanned generations, and many have come and gone in their wake. But Snyder is playing a very good game. In just four years since he started his label in 2011, collaborations with Champion, PF Flyers and Cole Haan helped to establish the brand in the contemporary consumer’s consciousness, which coupled with dues paid at Ralph Lauren, The Gap and J Crew, propelled him to a status some might call “industry darling,” fuel for three nominations for the CFDA Swarovski New Designer award and a place in the finals for the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund.
Perhaps the brand’s biggest coup though, are its licensing deals, including shirts by PVH and suits by Peerless, both leaders in each field and both doing astronomical numbers in terms of product, distribution and revenue. These licensing deals are driving the brand’s global expansion into brick and mortar retail, with stores established in Japan and New York, and a bevy more slated to open across Asia in the next two years.
So has he done it? Has American menswear’s most famous three-way become four? There are other significant American brands such as Rag & Bone, John Varvatos and Billy Reid who might fit more comfortably with Snyder in one single breath, but given Snyder’s impressive expansion acumen, he is a strong contender. Perhaps the real challenge is that aforementioned consumer consciousness. As noted, Snyder has done plenty, but Calvin, Tommy and Ralph each evoke a strong and specific sense, not just of menswear, but of lifestyle too. That may be mostly down to the billions of dollars collectively spent on ad campaigns over almost half a century though, and Snyder’s reimagining of American menswear with an Italian influence summed up as “spezzatura,” if teased out effectively, might be enough to propel the brand to those oh so heady heights.
But like all good things (and the collection was great: see below), it will take time.