Designer Carrie Hammer Brings Role Models to the Runway
What inspired you to create CARRIE HAMMER?
It’s so important for women to be empowered in their work and in their life. Clothing and presenting a polished appearance is an important part of one’s career. Having a tailored and well-fitting dress is the most beautiful thing a woman can wear. It can be a simple black dress, but if it’s made for you it will be the most beautiful piece in your wardrobe. We provide beautiful, professional, and feminine clothing for women to make them feel powerful inside and outside of the workplace.
How did your educational and professional background prepare you to start your company?
I come from a family of artists and being creative has always been an important part of my life. I’ve had a passion for clothing for as long as I can remember. My hobby when I was young was needlepoint and I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas when I was in 4th grade. I guess I was born for this! I studied Economics at UCLA and going into business right after school seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I was fascinated with where digital and the web was going. When I moved to New York, my love for fashion intensified, especially as it pertains to dressing for work. I found it difficult to find things for work that fit well, were work appropriate, and that made me feel confident. My male counterparts all had custom shirts and suits, and I was left out in the cold with no options of my own.
I found a manufacturing partner just to make dresses for myself and I got so many compliments on them that it was an easy transition to make this into a business. Professional women are an underserved market and I am happy to be their clothier and empowerment agent. As a solution, I began getting custom pieces made for me through tailors online. When I found that many of own friends shared this struggle, a light bulb went off. I had no choice but to start a line to cater to the underserved professional woman.
What qualities make women suitable role models for girls?
My customers are powerful women and executives so when it came time to show at NYFW. I didn’t feel comfortable sending traditional models down the runway to model the clothes. While planning the show I decided that we should do ROLE models, not runway models. The decision was also driven by my strong belief that the fashion industry holds a lot of clout and responsibility when it comes to young women’s body image. I realized this was a great opportunity to show young women that Role Models are the one they should be looking up to.
Who is your role model(s)?
My mother is my role model.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
My mother has taught me so many amazing lessons in my life but one that stands out is that perseverance pays. When I started my own line three and a half years ago, my mother told me to try, try, and then try again. Perseverance was hard against unsurmountable odds, but now my business has taken off. Perseverance does indeed pay.