Emma Altman is a fashion designer born and raised in New York City.
A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she presented her first major runway show for Fall/Winter 2018 during New York Fashion Week. Her apparel and accessory designs have been featured on America’s Next Top Model and Vans Warped Tour, and she and her work have been profiled in numerous national and international publications including People Magazine (New York), Inked Magazine (New York), Gisele Magazine (Tokyo), Vanity Hype (London), and Blasting News (New York). Her young career has already included stints with several major fashion houses, most notably working directly with industry icon Betsey Johnson on a variety of collections and runway shows.
Based in NYC, Emma Altman Apparel is a brand for young women who like to stand out in a crowd and get noticed. It’s Barbie girl meets rock and roll edge, and the brand is highly influenced by Tokyo street fashion. 100% vegan and cruelty free, the brand’s mission is to bring out the inner confidence of young women through what they wear so that they can take on any challenge in life.
A Conversation with Emma Altman X 33 MAGAZINE
Describe your brand in five words.
Confident / Cute / Edgy / Vegan / Nostalgic
Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I decided to become a fashion designer because I love creating clothing that doesn’t exist in the world and making it real. I believe that clothing makes people feel good about themselves and I want to bring confidence and empowerment to women through my brand.
How your brand’s mission evolved starting with your first collection?
My brands mission actually has stayed totally the same since conception. Our mission is to bring out the inner confidence of young women through what they wear so that they can take on any challenge in life.
In your experience, what are some of the other negative points regarding fashion design schools?
I can’t speak to all, but my fashion education was phenomenal. I didn’t go to a purely fashion school, I went to RISD (The Rhode Island School of Design) which had an Apparel Design Program that I took there. I learned from great educators, and designers in my field, and came out of that school feeling like I could take on the fashion world.
How sustainability can change fashion industry? Do you think we can see, in the next future, a positive change regarding sustainable design?
Sustainability can and will change the fashion industry. It’s already starting, and I’m excited to see what comes next. Brands are starting to think about not only where their materials are sourced, but who makes them, and how they are effecting the planet.
All around the world people are paying more attention and caring for this planet, by getting rid of plastic bag use, plastic straws, and styrofoam. The fashion industry will follow suit.
My brand is cruelty 100% free/vegan and each piece is made to last. I, along with other new innovative brands, are ones who seek to support and help the planet grow and expand.
My last collection was inspired by the planet, and about how everyone is so focused on the digital world and social media, that technology is taking over and is effecting the planet in a negative way. We need to start caring more for the planet we live on.
HACK THE PLANET FW19 Collection
Video by: Kefentse Johnson and Joshua Eichenbaum
MUA: Lone Wolf Beauty
Music: Remy Steele
Models: Krystal Warren, Elaina Henthorne, & Alva Li
In your opinion, will it be the consumer who will facilitate the change in the supply chain or will it be the design and manufacturing industry?
It’s kind of like what came first the chicken or the egg? Fashion is fueled by people and people fuel fashion. We need our customers to support us, but we need to also pay attention to what the customer wants/help them discover what they don’t know they want yet.
What should a customer expect when buying your brand? What drives your inspiration for your design?
When buying Emma Altman Apparel expect something unique and colorful. Each piece makes a statement and can be mixed and matched with many different looks. We make clothes of all assortments ranging from tops, jackets, skirts, dresses, and pants to accessories like earrings, necklaces, backpacks, and purses. All the clothes are vegan/cruelty free and made in New York.
The feeling of the brand is positive and uplifting. The clothes are meant to mix and match, as each piece can be paired with a matching look or color opposites. It is very maximilistic.
What drives my inspiration is colors, people, places, and materials. I pull a lot of inspiration from Tokyo Street Fashion. I’ve lived in Tokyo twice and loved the fashion and culture, so I’m always paying attention to trends going in Japan. I also am inspired by NYC Fashion, as I’m a native New Yorker, and will frequently sit and watch people walk by downtown to see what they are wearing, always with my sketchbook to jot down ideas and things I see.
What was the biggest challenge for you as a designer?
It’s hard for me to pin point a specific challenge. Being a designer in general is very challenging. There are so many moving targets to hit in order to reach credibility and success. I try to focus on what I’m good at, what has worked, and what hasn’t, and am constantly thinking about how I can be better and grow.
I stay extremely optimistic, positive, enthusiastic, and friendly in order to turn my dreams into reality.
Would you like to showcase your collection in one of the most important fashion weeks around the world?
Yes I would. I have had 3 successful seasons in my young career thus far for NYFW, but I aspire to also one day have runway shows for Paris, London, Tokyo, and Milan Fashion Week.
What we should expect next from you?
There will be a product launch coming soon, and a new collection on its way!
HACK THE PLANET FW19 Collection