I started my busiest day of NYFW at the Fashion Law Institute show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I have a fond place in my heart for the Fashion Law Institute, as my first ever MBFW show was their designer showcase last fall, featuring a larger scale first: The first plus size designer to show a collection at an official Mercedes Benz Fashion Week show, the stunning Cabiria – something I am still grateful to have been a part of. The Fashion Law Institute continued their streak of firsts with the FW 2014 show, where designer Carrie Hammer included a model in a wheelchair, something never before done in the tents.
For this September’s SS 2015 show, the FLI had Carrie Hammer return, and continue to redefine what types of models to expect at NYFW. Instead of a traditional casting of professional models to showcase her chic workwear, Ms. Hammer decided to present her Spring/Summer collection on women she considers role models. This included a diverse range of innovators, leaders, and professionals. Geena Rocero, founder of transgender advocacy organization Gender Proud, and lawyer Uduak Oduok were both models in the more traditional sense as well as being role models for their work. Oduok opened the show in a fun newspaper print dress, and Rocero encapsulated the celebratory atmosphere of the show with her animated strut.
The collection itself was full of sharp, professional styles, including many perfectly tailored dresses and structured jackets. Whereas much of the fashion shown at NYFW is purposefully over the top, Hammer’s designs were eminently wearable. Nearly every piece could go straight from the runway to the most demanding corporate office, while retaining some personality – something so often absent in workwear. Indeed, Carrie Hammer launched her line after struggling to find “fashionable, professional women’s clothing, with a contemporary fit.” Her designs fill that gap, for all types of professional women.
Excitingly, Hammer’s philosophy of embracing diversity continues off the runway: She offers clothing in sizes 0-36, and each piece is bespoke, tailored to your individual measurements.
I am no longer working in a corporate office environment, but there were things in Hammer’s SS15 collection that would work for every life and style. My hands down favorite was the perfect tan trench coat with a sweet bow detail in the back.
Hammer closed the show with Karen Crespo, a bacterial meningitis survivor and quadruple amputee – another NYFW first. Aside from just being a fabulous red dress, this was an important reminder that fashion is for everyone, and that representation matters (two tenets that I live by when it comes to what I do).