Style

A Quadruple Amputee Walked The Runway At New York Fashion Week

Designer Carrie Hammer uses “role models” instead of “runway models,” including a woman in a wheelchair and a woman with four prosthetic limbs.

1. Fashion designer Carrie Hammer’s mission is to make stylish workwear for underserved professional women.

Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz F Craig Barritt

Her efforts aren’t just focused on the design aspect; in her runway shows, she started a campaign to use “Role Models Not Runway Models,” including accomplished women of different sizes and abilities with empowering stories.

2. In February, Karen Crespo, a 30-year-old from Los Angeles, contacted Hammer to tell her how inspired she was to see a woman in a wheelchair at the designer’s spring 2014 show.

Craig Barritt / Getty Images

“I was so thrilled and moved that a designer welcomed someone with a disability on the runway,” Crespo wrote. “You don’t see that often, and I hope it really opens doors for people with disabilities. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes — there’s absolutely no right or wrong.”

3. When Hammer received the letter, detailing how Crespo had contracted bacterial meningitis resulting in the loss of all four limbs, she was so moved that she asked her to walk in her fall show.

Craig Barritt / Getty Images

4. On Sept. 5th, Crespo became the first quadruple-amputee to walk in New York Fashion Week.

Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz F Craig Barritt

“I had no role models,” Crespo said, “and I want to be that person for someone.”

5. In addition to Crespo, some of the other “role models” that walked in Hammer’s show included Lindsay Todd Merkle, Global Account Manager for Beats by Dre, and Vivian Graubard, White House Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

Craig Barritt / Getty Images

“I’m a designer of professional clothing for women,” Hammer said, “so I felt sick sending 18-year-olds down the runway.”

6. See more about Carrie Hammer and her inspirational partnerships here.

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