Iowa-native Todd Snyder knew he wanted a future in fashion after reading Ralph Lauren's book in 1988. "I remember wishing that I could do that," he says.
As it turned out, he could. In 2008, Snyder -- whose surname translates to "tailor" in Dutch -- left his post as J.Crew's creative director of menswear to launch an eponymous collection. His expert blend of classic American sportswear, preppy flourishes and rugged military references has been turning editors' heads ever since, and just last week earned him a spot as one of seven "Best New Menswear Designers in America" according to GQ.
"I look at everything for design inspiration," Snyder told us. "Art and travel are key. I love going to London and Japan, it helps me look for new ideas and trends." Museums and favorite local shops also play an important role in his creative process. "I always go to the Tate Modern Museum. The Strand bookstore is also a great place to loose yourself in another time or setting...searching for vintage treasures at Bob Melet's in New York ... He has the best."
Snyder is especially proud of an extensive collection of vintage military pieces. "I use a lot of old American and British clothing as a source of inspiration," he explains. "Some of my favorite pieces are rare jeans from the '50s, WW2 military chinos, cafe racer leather jackets, and a military trench coat from the '40s. I like to reinterpret old classics and add a luxury element to them."
While his star is certainly the rise, Snyder admits that there's "a lot of work to do." Luckily, it's the kind of work he on which he thrives. "I used to think, 'I can't believe I'm making money from doing what I love: designing. I still feel like I'm in art class. It's a lot of fun."