How Totally Normal Clothes Became the Biggest Thing in Menswear

Corridor’s courting of this new audience is working. While Snyder declines to talk numbers, everything indicates that the arrow is pointing up. In addition to Nordstrom, Corridor is now stocked at Mr. Porter, Bloomingdale’s, and Mohawk General. The brand also recently opened up a new store, its fifth, in New York’s West Village. “We’re doing well,” Snyder says.

That success is rooted, of course, in the clothing Corridor produces. The denim Aksland tries on is the platonic ideal of the dad jean. The fit is comfortably slouchy, the denim is light-washed, and the crotch is even pre-whiskered. This is no accident: the jeans are washed enough to look like they’ve been worn in over five years, according to Corridor’s website. The brand is built on products like this—objects designed to deliver style without the effort. The copy even boasts: “We’ve done the heavy lifting for you.” Aksland doesn’t end up buying the jeans—but, with a closet full of the brand’s seersucker shirts and flannels, he’s already a Corridor convert.

Snyder started noodling on Corridor over a decade ago, while he was working as a contractor for the FBI. Snyder, with long hair and an abundance of gold jewelry, does not much look like a guy with a law-enforcement background. Indeed, he tells me, he never really fit in as a government contractor. He’d long nurtured an interest in clothing, taking sewing lessons at 23. While working for the NYPD’s counter-terrorism division, he formally started Corridor. He sold his clothes out of a backpack and spent his weekends commuting on a bus along the northeast corridor to visit factories. (This is how Snyder arrived at the name Corridor.) His unusual background proved a boon. “The one thing about working for the government was that you had to dress up,” Snyder says. “I wanted to look proportionally correct so I wanted to be able to tailor my clothes.” Unfortunately, Snyder’s desire to look good at work eventually became a distraction…at the very job he wanted to dress up for. “Eventually they got sick of me, you know, going to the factory in the middle of every day.”

Part of Corridor’s success comes out of Snyder’s understanding of the way many men conceive of what they wear and the clothes they search out. When Snyder is designing, he is constantly thinking about how his clothes will be used. Earlier generations of men’s clothing were defined by hypermasculine utility: menswear classics like the MA-1 flight jacket (used by pilots), the trench coat (used by soldiers on the front lines of World War I), and even the T-shirt (which rose to prominence after it became part of the Navy’s uniform) all have their roots in the military. Snyder knows men respond to the purposefulness of clothes, and so he crafts his with that quality in mind. “You have to think about the utility of the garment,” he says. “How is this worn? Is this colorway appropriate? How is it useful?” 

Use looks a lot different in 2022, though—consider Aksland, who needs something that can go from set to the wrap party, rather than something for the muddied trenches of war. Snyder tells me that when he designs a garment he considers if “somebody is going out in this—is this a first date, second date, third date shirt?” (As any guy knows, those are three different shirts!) “Is somebody getting laid in this? Or is it something to wear to, like, Rockaway? It’s gotta have utility.” The idea is simple enough, but radically detached from how high-end menswear is typically made. Runway fashion is often conceptual, designed to be as close to art as clothing can be; streetwear was intended to signal identity through a series of references; workwear is the uniform of blue-collar workers. Corridor, meanwhile, is delightfully unabashed and unobfuscated about its purpose: you need something to wear because you’re going on a third date and you want it to go great.  

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