Orzel Meets... Dan Snyder
For the first Orzel Meets... where I wasn't talking to myself, there was only one place we could start.
Dan Snyder, began designing and sewing in DC, perfected his first pattern in Boston, and started the business out of his sixth-floor walk-up in the East Village, NYC - the Northeast Corridor. He remains the sole designer of Corridor, and his love and enthusiasm are palpable in every piece.
Corridor is a New York-based, independent brand focused on contemporary American clothing, natural fibres, and responsible design and tailoring. The textiles and garments are designed in-house with selectively-partnered, ethically, and environmentally sustainable workshops specialised in the best quality production, and we LOVE them!!!
Dan, thank you for being the first ever person to Meet Orzel! I’m not sure if we would exist if I hadn’t happened upon your store in Brooklyn so I’d like to start with a thank you!
We love authentic clothes and products made by people who care about what they are making, the people who make them and those that will wear and use them and that’s something we got from you straight away. Can you tell us about your journey with Corridor and how it came to be?
Basically, I was a hobby sewer who loved to make clothes and that’s how I still approach the brand. It really all began with wanting to hem my pants and then signing up for night school and then falling in love with the process. I come from a family of artists and when I started making clothing it came really naturally. I just went step by step from there: first, I made my own wardrobe, then requests started coming in, and then I started selling to stores from my backpack, and things grew organically from there. We have never taken any investment money, we’ve just slowly and mindfully focused on product that inspires us.
Who or what inspires you?
I think that nature and natural forms have had the biggest impact on my work. Finding beauty in the natural world - whether it be a palette to put into a melange, or forms that tie into a greater story - this is where my head often goes. Also, of course, my childhood. I’m from the mid-Atlantic and have lived between Boston, NY and DC my whole life, so this east coast/metropolitan thing, which is progressive yet rooted in prep and Americana, informs a lot of my choices.
Fashion is unfortunately one of the worst industries for the environment. What are your thoughts around how we can improve sustainability and responsibility?
I think that we have to continue to ask the next question. In my mind, it works for me in that I ask myself if I’m happy with the working conditions for the sewing, so the next questions become: How is the cotton milled? Where is the dye house located? How were the trims made?
Generally, I take issue with the term sustainable. Is an organic cotton sock made by low wage workers in a poor environment considered sustainable? Is a silk scarf made by artisans to last a lifetime but made with toxic dyes considered sustainable?
So, I don’t have the answer and it’s up to the consumer to make conscious decisions, if they wish. Also, I don’t think the first principle of any product should be sustainability. I think that it should be a mixture of beauty, quality, and function. Typically, if you’re trying to make the highest quality product, it often happens to be sustainable because good materials and artisans make good things that last.
We are seeing a lot of love for your shirting and the fit, can you tell us some more about the 3 panel design and how you developed this?
The 3 Panel Design of the shirts is an antique shirt pattern that I used when I was first making shirts in my apartment. I wanted a clean look without a box pleat or darts and this was a way to achieve a nice shape without those features. So I just kept using it and here we are.
What is a key piece that you think that everyone should have in their armoury?
I think that an olive, field tan, or black military CPO or overshirt is super useful and goes with anything. Looking back over that last 70 years, the look has never gone out of style because it’s useful, masculine, and flattering.
Whilst it’s been a challenging year, from adversity sometimes beautiful things happen, is there anything that you’ve taken from 2020 that’s changed your way of thinking or improved something that you do?
I’ve been able to take our photography in house and I’ve worked a lot on different cameras which has been really fun and fulfilling.
What can we expect from your Spring / Summer collection?
SS21 is named Sun Painted Houses which comes from the sun bleached colours one sees in the summer, somewhere warm. The colors are washed out and warm - dusty rose, canary, washed-out indigo. We are also working with a women’s collective in Peru to do hand knits and crochet cardigans for open weave summer cardigans.
Lastly, as part of the series we are going to ask everyone the same three questions to start to build up a nice little list for people to check out. Please can you tell us what you are listening to, reading and watching at the minute please?
Listening - This is my december playlist - https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5HQsfwXAaUvZNY3YSMX3cn?si=rOVL_HgJStac1Z0mx5yaXQ
Reading - I just finished Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo which I really enjoyed. This year I really liked The Overstory by Richard Powers, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, and The Topeka School by Ben Lerner. The best thing that I’ve read in years in a short story called “The Media,” also by Ben Lerner.
Watching - The best thing that I’ve watched this year is this survivalist show called “Alone” - it seems like a cheesy reality show but it’s not. The inherent problem of a typical reality show is the performative aspect of it and it ceases to be reality. The rub with “Alone” is that the contestants are filming themselves, so they are truly alone. Perhaps there is a bit of showmanship in the beginning, but the longer they are secluded in the woods, the real human drama begins. I love watching amazing people do amazing things - hunt, fish, build - it’s really fascinating and impressive.