Living proof that fashion goes beyond image — #RoleModelsNotRunwayModels

Yesterday 40:20 Vision’s contributing / Millennial editor, Stephanie Florence, attended Carrie Hammer’s ‘Role Models Not Runway Models’ Fashion Show in New York City.

I remember when I went to my first New York Fashion Show. I was excited for the experience, but I knew I would be engulfed by feelings of inadequacy. I recall the shock of the too thin models and suddenly feeling very small myself because I felt wrong-sized in the world of tall angular stick figures – almost like the new ultra-thin high rises populating New York City’s skyline today. Lucky for me it went by so fast I hardly had time for these feelings to sink in. But seeing the models first hand made me realize just how unattainable the body image is in real life.

Today that is changing. Enter Carrie Hammer, the designer behind the #RoleModelsNotRunwayModels campaign. She is single handedly changing the face of Fashion Week with her runway shows that feature women you wouldn’t expect to see. IMG_4901These women, far from Victoria’s Secret wannabes, are role models to younger and older women alike. From CEOs, journalists and entrepreneurs (and our very own Woman To Watch Over 40) to Danielle Sheypuk, a doctor who doesn’t let being wheelchair bound slow her down, and Jamie Brewer, the American Horror Story actress with Down Syndrome…they are breaking the status quo.

I wish I could have been at the show yesterday myself, but I’m so happy to share Stephanie’s take. Not only is Carrie making strides in changing body image ideals, but also, she is showing use we can learn a few things from models of any age!


1. Be different. Designer Carrie Hammer went against the norm when casting her runway shows selecting CEOs, activists and entrepreneurs – REAL women – to show off her collection. That decision has expanded the dialogue around fashion, truly featuring women of all backgrounds and has inspired countless people in the process.
2. Take advantage of being at a noteworthy event to talk to everyone. I spent my time in line connecting with the people around me. After the show I had the opportunity to chat with past Role Models who inspired me that I’ve only been able to read about up until that point. This observation applies anywhere – use the event and environment you are in as an opportunity to connect.
3. When in doubt, strut. I spoke with a few Role Models before and after the show. A big sentiment they shared was being nervous about the show…I can tell you it did not show at all – they walked the walk. Confidence was the ultimate accessory on this runway.

Couldn’t be there in person? Watch this video and feel the energy of the show from my view in the front row:

Learn more about these amazing women by following @CarrieHammer on Instagram + Twitter and #RoleModelsNotRunwayModels on social media. Be inspired by their stories at

Flo 3Stephanie Florence is a 20-something who can talk to a brick wall and dance to a kazoo. She contributes to the 40:20 Vision as the Millennial editor and on every day that ends in “y” you can find Stephanie meeting people, telling exceedingly long stories and taking the approach of a student…always. Find her dancing around New York City in her personalized Chuck Taylors, complete with her Twitter handle: @StephanieFlo.

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