Le Alfré's Brandon Snower, The Keeper Of New York's Most Stylish Men's Club

by Guest of A Guest · June 11, 2024

    To look at Brandon Snower, it seems rather obvious he was cut for the world of men's fashion. A spectacled gentleman smartly tailored and classically buttoned up with a certain sartorial slant that reads, this look didn't happen by accident, but throwing it together was a lot easier for me than it would be for you. Still, it took a detour into the world of finance for the designer and entrepreneur to find his footing in menswear, founding his hit lifestyle brand three years back. 

    Beyond the collection of products - which spans everything from expertly crafted shirts made by the oldest shirtmaker in Portugal to perfect pebble leather belts that will only look better with time - Le Alfré is as much a club as a clothing brand. A gathering spot, both physically and conceptually, for those with a shared penchant for watches and whisky, feigning attention to golf, the occasional banker chat... 

    Curious where Brandon's looking for style inspiration, or what's his take on finance guys and their love affair with vests?

    So what made you realize that Wall Street just wasn't it?
    I probably realized Wall Street wasn't going to be my long-term path after one year. I went into working in investment banking like everyone out of college. I was excited to move to New York and finally live in such an amazing city. Hustle, work, have fun and enjoy what Wall Street and the lifestyle had to offer. After working day in and day out, I slowly started to realize that finance maybe wasn't exactly what I wanted. It wasn't the hours, it wasn't the people, it was the fact that I had something in my brain where I needed to blend this mix of business that I loved and a creative vision and exercise that I always felt gifted and interested in. I wanted to put my energy (which added up to 100+ hours a week) toward something else. Something that I could pursue and create.

    How did the idea for Le Alfré come to you?
    The idea came naturally to me. Living in New York, experiencing the vibe, style & energy, I started to understand what it meant to live in New York and be someone a part of this unique culture. On top of that there were so many cool brands and styles that I saw and learned about for the first time, and the culture they were creating. After this year of embracing this, it hit me that the culture, style and brands I were a part of, and purchased from didn't really resonate with my perspective, culture, style and life as a 23-year-old at the time. The industry of classic menswear (to me personally) felt a little dry and outdated. And the quality and craftsmanship wasn't up to the standard and care of how classic menswear should be (for premium price points). So the idea came when it was time to combine all of the elements I thought were lacking in classic menswear to create a different aesthetic and vibe for today's generation of men while still appreciating the past. A brand more playful, creative, community-driven that really cares about their community and quality of products that really embraces the cool, modern and sophisticated guy. And Alfré was the perfect name and character that really encapsulated this type of aesthetic we represent. And "Le" was added to sound cool - and it rhymes haha.

    Who are some of your biggest style references?
    I actually get a ton of inspiration from cool women's brands in the US and Europe. When I was younger and my parents took me to buy new sneakers, I always thought that the women's sneakers at Nike had the coolest color palettes and designs. I'm still looking at women's clothing and styles that I can blend in to make a very tasteful and unique style and vibe for men. Also I love vintage pieces. I know everyone might say that, but for me it's more about the perspective and angles they designed and what the culture was at that time. I get inspo from everyday culture and a lot from the 80s and 90s to channel that aesthetic but in a fresh way. For me it's always about colors and patterns. How you can integrate new perspectives with colors and products. Having the ability to combine different items, palettes, textures and moods together is something I think I've always had a knack for. Since a young age I've been extremely particular about colors and how they go together, and today I'm always looking to see how colors can be incorporated in a tasteful and unique way. You can see this in a lot of our products like our "Le Fun" Shirts and even our new swim trunks made in Italy.

    What's one easy way for a guy to elevate his look?
    One easy way for a guy to elevate his look is the fit. It's extremely important that a guy has well-fitting clothes. I'm not talking about a super tight, slim fit that shapes your entire body perfectly. And not super oversized. Something that was well-made, with beautiful, well-thought out construction that's proportional everywhere on the body. From length of sleeves, to shoulders, to chest and how it drapes. It's all connected. It should fit properly; comfortable yet tapered. I've single-handedly spent months with our factories living in Portugal, to make sure that our products are the perfect balance of comfort and taper to give that look and feel like this isn't a typical "off-the-rack" shirt because it fits so well.

    Any big style pet peeves?
    Shirts where the arms are way too long and shorts below the knee. Being that most of our products are shirts, we've really understood how they should fit. I constantly see guys wearing button down shirts at the office, on the street, at restaurants with shirts where the cuff is halfway down their hand. A shirt sleeve should be right at the cuff. Long enough where it covers your watch slightly and when you bend your elbow your watch shows. I'm also a big short shorts guy. Let the knees and some thighs out. It elevates the look so much. And make sure you hit some leg presses and squats haha.

    Favorite place in town to grab a martini?
    Tough to pick one. Really enjoy The Mulberry. Whenever I need a strong, dry martini I go to Grand Central Oyster Bar - really like how casual, laid-back & old-school the vibes are there. Plus my guy Carlos at the counter gives me extra stuff on the side. Finally, you can't go wrong at Bemelmans Bar.

    Who's serving up the best steak / burger?
    Love Gallaghers and have had some very important meetings and deals happen at Keens Steakhouse. Favorite burger is the Emmy Burger at Emily and Charles Prime Rib.

    Which neighborhood has the best style?
    It's cool because each neighborhood has its own vibe. I don't like saying one style is better than the other because I can always take inspo from everywhere and everything I see no matter what neighborhood. I like West Village for its clean and simple, modern aesthetic. I like the Upper East Side for its old-school and nostalgic vibe. SoHo and Nolita for more trendy, cool vibes. And I also enjoy seeing what's in the Bowery and Lower East Side for the niche, grungier aesthetic.

    Any tips for picking the perfect watch?
    Pick a watch that feels authentic and genuine to you. Don't let other people persuade you to buy a watch because there's some sort of status or hype around it. I go for more vintage pieces that are super unique and not necessarily the brands that are most common. For example, I have a 1980s black and 18-K gold Baume and Mercier with an alligator dial, and a vintage Favre Leuba two-tone gold and silver for $250 that I bought at a flea-market when visiting factories in Portugal. Whatever speaks to you, go for it. And make sure you understand the movements and workings of the watch before you buy.

    What is it about finance guys and vests?
    That's a great question. Honestly I have no idea why the vests became so popular. The only reason I can think of is because it's cold as hell in these banks and offices where you need something that's a nice in between of warm but not like a coat or full jacket that you can wear while using Excel and Bloomberg haha. Your arms are always on the desk so maybe it's too heavy to have a jacket with sleeves.

    Reading anything interesting at the moment?
    Nothing at the moment, busy launching new collections and heading out to Europe for some cool collabs and photoshoots. But one of my favorite books is Shoe Dog.

    What are you most excited for next?
    Sort of everything. We've really hit the ground running in the last 6 months. From opening up our first store in Flatiron, to hiring a full team, to creating incredible and unique products like our swim trunks, linen line and collabs with partners around the world. I will say that we have some very exciting product drops, collaborations, events and content this summer and in the Fall/Winter '24 that I think will surprise a lot of people - especially given how we're still only a 3 person company doing this. We have a lot of momentum and are continually getting better with a lot more people behind us enjoying our products and vibe which is really cool to see.

    [Photos courtesy Le Alfré]