LIM Honors Todd Snyder for Paying It Forward

By: Jean Palmieri | Link to article

The designer and the school’s former president, Elizabeth Marcuse, were awarded its Fashion Forward awards.

For many fashion industry executives, paying it forward has become a way for them to give back to the next generation whether it’s through mentoring, offering internships or even hiring young talent to join their companies.

And on Wednesday night, LIM college’s Fashion Education Foundation (FEF) singled out designer Todd Snyder and the school’s president emeritus Elizabeth Marcuse with its second annual Fashion Forward awards, which recognize a commitment to empowering the next generation of leaders. The inaugural event last year honored Jennifer Foyle of American Eagle Outfitters and Michele Parsons of Kate Spade.

The evening was a fundraiser for the FEF, with more than 95 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales and a silent auction benefiting LIM students who quality for scholarships based on household income and GPA.

The event was held on a spacious balcony of a private home on the Upper East Side overlooking the East River where students and executives in a wide variety of roles within the fashion community sipped cocktails and enjoyed a live jazz band.

Arnold Cohen, strategic adviser to Psycho Bunny, kicked off the formal portion of the event by explaining that the scholarship funds provide money for one to two months of living expenses so the students can concentrate on their studies. So far, the organization has raised more than $125,000 which will be awarded to 10 students in increments of $5,000 in 2025 with the remainder of the funds placed in an endowment for the future.

He then introduced Cheyenne-Monica Hines, an LIM student and one of the recipients of the FEF scholarships. So far, she has interned for Psycho Bunny, Sam Edelman and Ferragamo and will be graduating this year with a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and minor in entrepreneurship and visual studies.

Hines thanked the group for providing these experiences to her and grow from a “shy little girl to now just blossoming into this fashion executive.”

Cohen then turned to Marcuse, who led the college for 21 years before stepping down at the end of last year. She remains on the board. During her tenure, LIM has quadrupled its student body and increased the number of degrees granted by more than 600 percent. “Liz is the most caring passionate advocate for students I have ever met,” he said. “And she knows where the students are going and what they need. She has been fearless and protecting, nurturing and growing them.”

Marcuse said her grandfather started LIM 85 years ago and established it as a laboratory. “My grandfather’s vision at the time was, how do you bring ‘learning by doing’ into the classroom? That has been the hallmark of this institution from Day One,” she said. “So the students study through a robust curriculum, they complete multiple internships before they graduate. And because of that amazing preparation, the students launch careers and go on to be extremely successful.”

Snyder was presented his award by Jim Moore, the former creative director of GQ, who called him one of the “torchbearers of the fashion industry,” and also a “very, very nice guy,” thanks in part to his Midwestern upbringing. Snyder was born and raised in Iowa and relocated to New York to work for Ralph Lauren, the Gap, Old Navy and J. Crew before starting his own brand.

Moore said it was at J. Crew that Snyder truly broke out. As its head of menswear under then-chief Mickey Drexler — who made an appearance at the LIM event as a tribute to Snyder — they created “a new culture” that Snyder has since honed with his eponymous designs. He added that the designer continues to show “curiosity, a sense of wonder and an uncanny knack of knowing what a guy needs before he realizes he needs it.”

Snyder, in turn, thanked everyone who helped him get to where he is today, including Drexler and his now-parent company, American Eagle Outfitters.

But in true Snyder fashion, he shifted the speech to the students of LIM and the “magic” he sees in their eyes “when they get a glimpse of what they could be.” He has hired a number of LIM graduates to work with him and “they have that look in their eye that is hard to define, but it’s the thing you look for as an employer.”

He added that he feels very fortunate to have built a business and is grateful for the chance to pay it forward. “I’m very fortunate in my career and I always feel like I want to be the person that gives back and see younger people doing what their dreams are,” he said. “I think what LIM does is just incredible because it gives them the opportunity to get real experience and get into an industry that is fairly hard to get into. I feel blessed that I’m actually able to live my dream, which is designing clothes, and actually get paid for doing it.”