Carrie Hammer Showcases Role Models at Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week has come and gone, but one designer’s runway show is making waves that will hopefully last longer than the trendy fads do. Carrie Hammer has made headlines with her choice of models in the past, and this year was no different.

The designer, whose philosophy states, “Dresses should be made to fit the woman, not the other way around,” has long put an emphasis on using role models in her shows rather than runway models. Back in February, Carrie featured Dr. Danielle Sheypuk in her show, the first-ever runway model in a wheelchair. Making the decision to let Dr. Sheypuk sport her latest designs was an easy one for Carrie. “I honestly didn’t even think twice about it. Danielle is a good friend of mine,  a doctor and a sex therapist. A huge role model in my book who just happens to be in a wheelchair,” she told me in an interview.

“The response was completely and unexpectedly overwhelming. The show and Danielle’s participation went completely viral. We received over 300 emails from women and mothers of daughters with disabilities letting us know how we helped them feel beautiful for the first time. I didn’t even know we were going to do another show until a very inspiring woman, Karen Crespo, wrote me a touching e-mail.”

karenwinkKaren Crespo

Karen Crespo, a woman who uses prosthetics for all four limbs after a quadruple-amputation, wrote Carrie an email about Dr. Sheypuk’s appearance that she could not ignore. “Seeing her on that runway made me teary eyed because it boosted my self confidence; something I lacked prior,” Crespo wrote. “I was so thrilled and moved that a designer welcomed someone with a disability on the runway. You don’t see that much often and I hope it really open doors for people with disabilities. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes there’s absolutely no right or wrong.”

geenaroceroGeena Rocero

Crespo expressed her “passion for fashion” and her frustration of underrepresentation of people with disabilities in the media and on the runway. Without giving it a second thought, Carrie invited her to appear in her September show. Crespo was accompanied on the NYFW runway by Geena Rocero, a transgender model and activist, Kim Holden who designed and built the Barclays center, and Kara DeFrias, a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the White House. The role models came in all shapes, sizes, and skin shades.


“It’s so important for me to showcase role models as I believe true beauty lies in our differences, not in trends, and lies in our accomplishments,” Carrie says. “We exude beauty when we are true to ourselves and are doing big things in the world. It is important for me to exemplify this to the rest of the world and the fashion community.”

When asked about what needs to change about today’s beauty norms, Carrie replies, “Beauty is completely trend driven and changes from region to region and we are all chasing unattainable goals. We need to shift our mindset and realize that what we need to be focusing on is building up our accomplishments and building ourselves and not trying to mold ourselves to a ‘standard of beauty’.”

Carrie studied Economics and Women’s Studies at UCLA, along with Fashion Business & Marketing at Parson’s. She graduated from the Tory Burch Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small businesses program and has a certificate in Fashion Law from the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School. Her clothing line dresses women for their professional lives, to both empower them and make them feel beautiful. See her designs at

What kinds of role models would you like to see featured more on the runway?


Images: Hiokit Lao


  1. I am absolutely in love with this and what is happening here. We need more brands to make a stand against things like this… not just look at how deep their pockets can get. I love it.

  2. I think it is great that she is not using regular runway models for her show and that she makes clothes for real people in all shapes and sizes.

  3. I love that she’s using models of all types because people are all types. I think it’s important to see models of all shapes and sizes, much like we should see people of all shapes and sizes on tv, in movies and in literature.

    1. Agreed, Phyrra! Media packs such an influence on what we consider normal, acceptable, and beautiful. Diversity is a MUST and Carrie is paving the way for hopefully many more designers!

  4. I would love to see women of all ages, sizes, skin tones, abilities on all runways. Won’t happen… But it would be wonderful. I love that Carrie Hammer fits clothes to people, doesn’t expect people to fit her clothes.

  5. I believe I may have heard about Carrie Hammer using a woman in a wheelchair on the runway or in a photoshoot some months ago. How wonderful that she is broadening her and thus our perspectives on high fashion beauty. Plus, the clothes look wearable which is always great

  6. I love when designers do things like that. It’s the runways and Hollywood that influence people’s opinion on beauty, and it’s about time we changed those unattainable “standards”. There is no such thing as standard in beauty, anyway! 🙂

    1. *snaps* I couldn’t have said it better myself, Anastasia! It’s important that the models used in beauty/fashion campaigns ARE role models that we want women and young girls to look up to!

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