Carrie Hammer is a fashion designer turned activist with a powerful campaign she calls Role Models Not Runway Models. A movement which is all about being ‘Body Positive’ and redefining the meaning of beauty in the fashion industry!
Who is Carrie Hammer?
Carrie began her career as CEO of her self-named clothing brand, a line dedicated to professional women. But this collection led to a greater plight! Carrie has been credited with kickstarting the ‘Body Positive’ movement in the fashion industry. When asked what led her down this path, she talks about the real-life ‘a’ha!’ moment that inspired her.
In preparation for her first ever runway show at New York Fashion week, Carrie Hammer and her assistant were struggling to find models that provided the right feel for her clothing. “They were absolutely perfect by industry standards, but there was some kind of visual disconnect that I couldn’t put my finger on.” Sifting through various headshots during the break, Carrie made an off-hand comment saying, “These girls are great, but the women wearing my clothes are executives and power brokers; they’re role models, not runway models.” And there it was, their a-ha moment. “We both heard it and felt it and the rest of the idea to use the same kind of professional women buying my clothes on the runway was born.”
Thus began the runway revolution. Carrie started Role Models, Not Runway Models, a campaign replacing traditional fashion models with powerful women: activists, executives, and philanthropists. Curious where she found the powerful women to model her clothing, I asked her about the process of selecting the role models: “Many of the role models were nominated by their peers or women who looked up to them. It’s incredible how many women are touched by leaders when they lead in a powerful and authentic manner.”
Her campaign has changed the experience of fashion shows from one focused on physical appearance to one promoting body positivity. The mission of the campaign is “to expand the global definition of beauty beyond skin deep to include passion, purpose, and accomplishments and to empower a new generation of women to feel beautiful in their own skin.”