Carter Altman arrives at my apartment in New York’s East Village dressed wisely beyond his years. He wears a vintage Canadian tuxedo, a lived-in and roomy black overcoat, red leather shoes, and a brown crossbody bag containing an iPad with images of his collection to share.

Altman, 24, knew he wanted to make clothes at the ripe age of 15, when he was a kid growing up in Detroit. He also had a passion for painting, but, he says, “clothing, to me, felt like a more accessible medium than fine art.”

Altman at a party for his clothing label, Carter Young.

He started his career in 2014, when he was just 16, assisting Alexander Nash, the New York men’s-bespoke-suit shop, where he learned the old-school Savile Row style of traditional tailoring and garment construction. The following summer, Altman worked under Nick Annacone at Kith, the popular streetwear brand, and also began designing his first original pieces, which he produced in a factory outside of Detroit.

In 2016, Altman learned the other side of the business—wholesale—while working for Helmut Lang. A year later, right before moving to Italy to work for Givenchy creative director Matthew Williams and his daughter Alyx, he launched his first full collection for a brand he called Carter Young. (Young is his middle name.) “Is it ever the right time to start a business?” he asks. It has been a bootstrapped sprint ever since.

Interpol’s Paul Banks models Carter Young.

Carter Young is built on a nostalgic smattering of influences and concepts. The result is a modern take on American dressing, clothes that feel “lived in and approachable,” Altman says. The collection is decidedly easy-wearing—linen double-breasted blazers in muted earth tones, classic striped Western shirts, and five-pocket jeans with a slight flare.

His influences—Paris, Texas; the Ramones; Pavement; and William Eggleston—shine through. The lookbooks have featured actor Ethan Hawke and Interpol’s Paul Banks, two artists who inhabit the perennial and intimate approach Altman takes to design.

Samples from the Carter Young line, which features double-breasted linen blazers in muted earth tones.

It’s refreshing in the noisy world of fashion to see someone make garments you can see yourself wearing at first glance. “I don’t think it should be challenging to pick up something off the rack and ask, How would I wear this?” he says.

On that note, Altman is expanding his offering, launching Henleys, long-john sets, and socks, simple additions that complement the suiting and denim. “I’d love to be known for the suiting, but I don’t think people who can’t afford that shouldn’t be allowed to buy into the brand,” he says. “I’m not trying to do something extremely precious.” I am struck by Altman’s business acumen and level head, which are hard to find in young designers.

A model wears Carter Young. “I’m not trying to do something extremely precious,” says Altman.

Altman gets up from my couch to go to a party in SoHo, leaving me with some simple parting words about his ambitions. “One day, I’ll do fine art, but right now I’m trying to make people look good in clothes.”

Chris Black is the founder of Done to Death Projects and a co-host of the podcast How Long Gone. He lives in Los Angeles and New York