Our company started in the basement of Dennis Snyder, an engineer from Ames Iowa, and was helmed early on by his son Todd. “It started as a hobby, a way for my dad and me to bond,” is the way Todd explains Tailgate’s humble beginnings. “We’d make shirts for college sport fans and then sell them at the games out of the back of my dad’s car.” Back then, neither of them thought that they were forming a company, they were just sharing their passion for collegiate sports with like minded people.
But what started out with the idea of sports fans making clothes for sports fans, morphed into something more. “Being from the midwest and being a huge Hawkeyes fan, you get involved in the lifestyle: going to the bars, trying different kinds of whiskey, having conversations about sports and cars. Eventually we wanted to turn our brand of collegiate sportswear into a bigger idea about being together and sharing similar interests.”
Todd’s passions and affinities are why we have the brand we have today. What began as a goal to create curated college wear has translated into a passion for crafting clothes that show off the story of America through its prolific icons. Whether it’s Muhammad Ali or the Fighting Irish, Chevy or Templeton Rye, your favorite bar or vacation spot--our passion is in celebrating the lineage of American design, innovation, and spirit.
Since starting in his dad’s basement, however, Todd has gone on to design men’s sportswear for J-Crew and the Gap, and outerwear for Ralph Lauren Polo, before returning to J-Crew as the Senior Vice President of menswear. He now runs his own design label under the name that his father gave him: Todd Snyder; and devotes to the label the same kind care for quality crafting that he and his father began making T-shirts with.
During all that time spent in the world of New York City fashion Todd’s accomplished a lot--including being considered one of the best designers of the modern age--but what he hasn’t done is lose sight of what his passions were from the beginning. Dennis might not have seen where this was going since all he wanted to do was spend some quality time with his son, but out of that foundation we’ve built a company into something that Dennis could be proud of. And what we want more than anything else is that when our customers make a purchase, they wear our clothing with the same amount of pride we took in creating it.
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