For many, the pandemic has ground life to a halt, but for the young designer Carter Altman, his life and career seem to be in overdrive. He graduated from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in December, and quickly had to figure out his future. For now, he has moved back home with his parents in Philadelphia, taking a menswear design job at a mainstream brand there. He runs his own label, Carter Young, alongside his day job. It’s impressive as Altman begins to explain the detailing, material sourcing, and tailoring of his unisex collection; no seam glossed over or finishing slapped on.
Speaking over a video call, Altman stressed that he didn’t want to produce an overly saccharine collection that negated the stress of 2020 and 2021. So he titled his latest “Doldrums,” exploring statuesque shapes and a gothic architecture. For someone as young as Altman, references like the sorta brooding alt bands of the 2000s and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow are both new and nostalgic—as is the music of Interpol. As he designed, Altman said he could think of no better poster boy for this season than Interpol’s frontman Paul Banks. After cold emailing Banks, the musician responded and agreed to appear in the collection images.
It’s a sort of blessed happening, but one that strengthens Altman’s message of considered clothing for all. The crux of the fall 2021 collection is denim, rendered into a yoked jacket with passimenterie trim and cut into a tuxedo with abbreviated flares. Jeans have an extra panel in the crotch to give them a roomier hip that emphasizes the leg. Corduroy and flannel round out the collection’s blazers and shirts, with one standout wool band jacket with braided trim. Altman references both the frontmen of his favorite bands and history in the stately piece, nodding to a kind of cosplay that feels very much in style right now. When we are all cloistered away in our separate worlds, who doesn’t want to dress up as their idol? In Altman’s case, he kind of got his idol to dress up as him.