Meet altus: The Manchester streetwear brand with dance music influences

altus apparel in the NQ, Manchester

The Britpop bands of the 90s have a lot to answer for. As the likes of Oasis, The Verve and Blur rose to the dizzying heights of fame, an entire style of dress was popularised alongside their music.

Impelled by the band’s casual fashion statements, fans in Manchester went ‘mad fer’ parkas, polos and retro Adidas jackets. And some still haven’t quite grown out of them. 

But of course, it’s not the first time music has led such a fashion revolution. Music, culture and fashion have had a longstanding relationship.

From the mods and rockers subcultures of the 60s and 70s, to the emo and scene kids of the 00s, it’s always been about identity, expression and feeling inspired. 

altus is the latest example.

Starting out as a club residency, the brand is now committed to capturing the vibe around Manchester through streetwear – putting a contemporary twist on musically-influenced clothing.

Typical Gallagher fashion
altus apparel t-shirt

Tom Horner, founder of altus tells us how his inspirations have shaped his designs.

“After what started out back in the day as a DJ residency at a club in West Yorkshire in my student days, Altus has always had firm roots in house and techno,” he said.

“Previous pieces that I’ve released have donned DJs that have inspired me, or lyrics from samples or tracks that are synonymous with those genres. My apparel will always give a little nod to house and techno in some way.”

“I go through stages where I’ll hammer disco sounds for a good month, then move in a completely different direction into something darker and more progressive. I think this comes across in some of the apparel I’ve released recently.

altus apparel fits
Canal view in Castlefield. Image: altus apparel

Tom is also a keen photographer and gathers plenty of inspiration from the industrial and gritty backdrop of Manchester itself.

“I’ve been doing a lot of street photography in and around Manchester, mainly around the canal in Castlefield where I live,” he said. 

“The street art has been something that has definitely inspired some of my recent designs and I’m pretty sure that will continue into future drops.”

“My latest piece is a classic beanie hat. This is a very simple design and something that I think reflects my surroundings and recent inspiration from listening to a lot of minimal techno.

“Music is such a powerful way to communicate feelings and emotion. I think both industries have kind of gone back to basics. There’s nowhere to hide anymore. So, unless you’re doing something original or something that you’re passionate about, then it’s quite transparent.”

The altus beanie
Image: altus apparel

To maintain the brand’s music-based values, Tom makes sure music remains at the heart of everything altus does.

He immerses altus in the scene by producing relevant playlists, promoting DJs and mixes, supporting events and gigs and sharing content on social media.

Meanwhile, he remains humble at the thought of people buying his designs and sharing his passions.

“I really hope that my interests and messages resonate with likeminded creatives,” he said. 

“It’s a weirdly fulfilling feeling when someone buys a piece that you’ve designed. To say that someone holds similar values, or a common interest with you is one thing, but for someone to invest in a piece that I’ve created feels very special. 

“Lockdown has given me the opportunity to realign and really focus on my designs and growing the brand. I’ve got a capsule of hoodies and new tees dropping before Christmas, and each piece is improving in terms of design and quality.”

To get your hands on some altus garms, head over to their website.

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