Few, if any, FBI analysts decide to pack in a career tracking bad guys in favor of founding a fashion line. Dan Snyder is the rare exception.
Frustrated with the flood of shapeless suits on offer in Washington, D.C., and with little else to choose from, he made the best of a bad situation and found a tailor who could turn his high-street ensembles into something more high-end. It wasn’t long before he’d found not only a new friend (he and his tailor buddied up for basketball and tennis) but a new obsession.
“Eventually I signed up for night classes with my aunt’s old Kenmore sewing machine and every day I would tailor my clothes,” Snyder said. “I started making all these shirts and pants and jackets, and then other people started requesting my clothes.”
By that point he was living in New York and working for the NYPD’s counterterrorism unit. Finding himself in the midst of the city’s Garment District, he decided to look into launching his own men’s line. “I started knocking on doors. I got laughed at countless times—I was even chased out of factories on some occasions,” he remembered, laughing. He finally found a small factory on West 35th Street that was willing to give his shirt designs a shot, and the first collection from Corridor (as he dubbed the label) launched in 2012. The Brooklyn menswear shop Goose Barnacle was the first store to pick up the line, and by the end of the brand’s debut season, Snyder’s shirts were in a total of 12 doors.
Today, Corridor has 45 accounts globally, carried in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Estonia, Russia and Japan, and the line has grown to include suits and ties. Stateside, stockists span Bucks & Does in Los Angeles to Space 98 in New York and Man Ready Mercantile in Houston, Texas, to Zurrick in Salt Lake City, Utah. “The line focuses on interesting but accessible menswear and great fit. Because for so long I was making all the clothes for myself, fit is the most important thing,” Snyder shared, explaining that his signature three-panel fit epitomizes that approach: The back of each shirt features three concave sections, designed to offer a clean drape and more movement than traditional darting or box pleats. “These are shirts that don’t cut any corners,” he quipped.
Being a made-in-the-U.S.A. brand is not as much a selling point as a quality assurance—for his customers and for him. He pointed out, “If I lived in Portugal, I would probably make my clothes in Portugal. Making it here in New York means I can be in the factory, I can touch the fabric. Everything is hands-on. I see every part of the product being made, right down to the buttons being dyed—I’m there. That’s part of the character.”
With that being said, domestic manufacturing has not been without its challenges. “It’s expensive to do it here, there’s a finite amount of factories and I’m on my feet all day because a lot of my production is piecemeal. I do pants in one place, the cutting room is in another, I take things to be washed somewhere else… The supply chain is kind of partitioned,” he said. But it’s precisely that personal touch that appeals to his customers. “I know my quality—and the perception of quality—is certainly improved by the line being made in the U.S.A,” he said, but was quick to add, “The high-end shopper really wants a quality, unique piece and they would buy that shirt no matter where it was made.”
Looking to Fall ’15, the core of the collection, as always, is an assortment of shirts, made from mostly Japanese fabrics, in a range of prints and plaids. Overshirts will appear for the first time, as well as some reversible styles in double-faced flannel. “The shirt is my mainstay,” Snyder confirmed, “but I think my eye for textiles and fit has adapted well to other men’s staple pieces. My MO is fit, quality and character and that’s what I want to put into everything I make.”