From FBI to Fashion Design
Posted August 29, 2018 5:34 p.m. EDT
Hometown: Columbia, Maryland
Now Lives: In a fifth floor East Village walk-up studio whose décor includes an original Saul Steinberg print and hardwood floors he installed himself.
Claim to Fame: Some designers learn their trade at FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology); Dan Snyder got his experience at the FBI. In the late 2000s, as an intelligence contractor at the FBI in Washington, D.C., he was chafing at the baggy olive suits that G-men were expected to wear. “I think Jos. A. Bank had a deal in the ‘90s,” he said. Taking style matters into his own hands, he took night classes in tailoring and began doctoring his wardrobe. Fast forward a decade, and Snyder’s sportswear line, Corridor, is sold in 90 stores in 16 countries, with a flagship location in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood.
Big Break: In 2012, Snyder left the bureau to study diplomacy at Tufts University, with plans to join the State Department or the CIA. While in graduate school, however, he started tailoring and making shirts for fellow students to pay the bills, and demand grew fierce. During a ski trip in Maine, it dawned on him that fashion was his true calling, and after graduation, he shifted focus and started Corridor. (The name was inspired by his peripatetic life along the Northeast Corridor). The first line was made using capital he raised working for Palantir, the Silicon Valley contractor to U.S. spy agencies, and released in 2014. He introduced a women’s line two years later.
Latest Project: Inspired by another hobby — Indian garment dyeing — he recently introduced a summerwear line called Sunshine Blues, manufactured in a women-owned workshop in New Delhi.
Next Thing: Despite the retail downturn, Snyder hopes to open more stores in New York to give customers a tactile experience. “I want there to be an element of old-school service,” he said. “My grandfather was a suit salesperson in Baltimore in an old-school haberdashery. People would go to him year after year, because he would take care of them, even if they didn’t always buy a suit.”
Secret Agent? “If I had joined the CIA, I’d probably be in some country in South America, posing as a diplomat, coercing people with naughty photos,” he said. “But as it is, a lot of my friends who work in the intel business wonder if I’m a spy. My current career would be a perfect cover.”