Designer Focus – Sam Snyder

Happy Thursday Fashionistas! We all constantly hear how we will not be successful unless we attend some type of school and only then if we succeed there. I had the privilege, however, to talk to 24 year old Sam Snyder, who unlike most, decided that he was not getting proper instruction from Parsons, one of the most well known schools for design located in New York City. Sam talked to me about his bold decision to leave Parsons and start up his line solely through his own confidence in his talent ( which is incredible by the way.) Here’s a little segment of our interview:


Caitlin:  When did you begin designing and when did your line really take off?

Sam: My jewelry designing began in a class at Parsons spring term of 2011. It began as a collaboration with my friend, Laura Fidalgo, to produce and launch a new jewelry line under the name SL Design. That partnership quickly faltered, though, and I finished the course with the partnership disolved and the collection partially re-designed and re-branded as Sam H Snyder. After that term, I continued with the brand, but found I didn’t have adequate time to dedicate to the line, in combination with my course-load at Parsons. So, I dropped out of Parsons during spring term 2012 and never looked back. I was desperately unhappy at Parsons and aching to put more emphasis on “real” work–in that sense it was an incredibly easy choice to make.

Caitlin: Can you tell us a little bit about your designs?

 Sam: My designs are very Mathematically-based.  The designs incorporate principles from Fibonacci number sets, fractals, and golden ratios.  I like to describe them as 3D doodles.
Caitlin: Where did you gather your inspiration for your designs?

Sam: Great design inspires me. Life inspires me. I generally dislike museums. I find far more beauty in my everyday experiences in the “real world”. Architecture is often a great inspiration for me.  I detest embellishment. If something is designed beautifully, there is no need to cover it in unnecessary flourishes.
At the end of the day, when I sit down to my sketchpad, a block of carving wax, or a 3D CAD program at my computer, I sub-consciously source all these shapes and ideas I’ve seen and incorporate them into something I’d like for myself. I disapprove of fashion’s reliance upon “target markets”, “trend forecasting”, and “consumer surveys”. I make what I like, and I hope other people will like it, too.

Caitlin:  What do you feel is the most rewarding part of designing?

Sam: The most rewarding part of designing, for me, is the very physical end reward of holding a solid object in my hands–– something that was once an idea, translated into reality. Design also liberates me, to a great degree, to do what I want, make what I choose, and work how I like.

Caitlin: What has been the hardest part throughout this process?

Sam: The hardest part, in the past, and until very recently, has been making ends meet.  But, financial obstacles are to be expected at the start of any business.  Aside from that, something I continue to struggle with, and something I think many artists and designers struggle with, is a sense of confidence regarding my work.  It takes a great deal of who and self– confidence to feel secure in the worth of something so intangible as a design idea.  There isn’ta particular market price or stable value in design, it’s all very personal. 

Caitlin:  What makes your designs unique?

Sam: The 2013 collection comes in two parts (10pcs each, 20pcs in total): the Sam H Snyder collection designed solely by myself, and the Polina Gurtovaya for Sam H Snyder collection conceived by my partner, Polina.

My half of the collection strongly adheres to the blocky, chunky, industrial look of the previous (2012) collection and was inspired by the geometric motifs of manhole covers in NYC. Many of the shapes and profiles present in my collection can by found reflected in whole or in part on these covers around the city.

Caitlin: Any future plans you have for yourself and your designs?

Sam: More collaborations are in the works, at the moment. Custom-work is also a constant passion and challenge. I plan to expand to more stockists (Portland, OR, San Francisco, LA, and Chicago are soon to be new additions) domestically and worldwide. For the time being, I think I’ll keep new lines to yearly-launch schedules to free myself to pursue the multitude of other ideas I’m simultaneously exploring. I’m also working on a clothing line “Gavroche Conception” that will be inducted under the Sam H Snyder brand after its launch later this spring. I have dreams further down the line of housewares and lighting design. I want to do everything–there are few things I DON’T want to do!

Sam (whose also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met), provided us with a view into the life of an inspiring designer. He proves that education is done for the person and if you feel that you can prosper outside of the classroom, although risky, it might be worth it for you. For those of you that are interested in checking out his work, I posted the link below. 
With love,