Collaborating with iconic American brands — Jack Purcell, J.Press, L.L. Bean, Birdwell, etc. — is a core component of Todd Snyder's brand DNA. However, the designer doesn't just do them because these sort of collaborations sell, but because they're brands he actually knows and wears — even to this day. He ties threads between his personal life and these labels, spotlighting connections one could assume a large percentage of his customers share. For the latest installment of this unofficial series, he worked with Randolph Engineering, a Randolph, Massachusetts-born eyewear brand responsible for manufacturing aviators for the US Military.
"I’ve long admired (and worn) Randolphs because of their incredible quality, their great American backstory and the authentic cool that comes from being the go-to for generations of pilots," Snyder says. Bausch and Lomb might've invented Aviators back in 1936, when the U.S. Armed Forces, seeking a solution to help fighter pilots deal with eye strain at higher altitudes, asked them to produce eyewear that countered light. This original design is still sold, albeit under the Ray-Ban name now, but Randolph has been the military's go-to supplier since 1982.
This responsibility hasn't diminished the brand's commitment to civilians, though — clearly. Each pair is made by hand in a 200-step process at the brand's Randolph, Massachusetts-based factory, which is family-owned and operated. The collaborative collection, which is also covered by Randolph's lifetime warranty, employs several new colors, a few jewelry-grade materials and polarized glass lenses. Snyder might've coerced this creativity out of them, but they were eager, not reluctant, to collaborate.
"The opportunity to marry two iconic American brands is exciting and uniquely a part of our DNA," Peter Waszkiewicz, Randolph's CEO, says. "For Randolph, it is important to collaborate with partners who value Made in USA, timeless style, authenticity and detailed craftsmanship. Todd Snyder understood this and brought his own unique perspective on re-creating a classic product for a modern consumer."