I come from two very passionate entrepreneur parents who have made me realize that if I put my mind to something I can make it happen. My mother is an artist and had owned her own advertising agency and my father is a technology entrepreneur. I am an amalgam of the two of them and love anything that is the intersection of technology and design.
My passion for creativity and fashion lead me to enroll in an intensive summer program at Parsons Paris to explore whether fashion was truly something I wanted to pursue. By the end of that summer it was clear to me that I definitely wanted to be in fashion. I also felt strongly that whatever aspect of the fashion industry I chose to become involved in, I wanted to benefit contemporary professional women.
As I started my first job after college, I struggled to find suitable, affordable work attire. I was told again and again, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” but it was nearly impossible to find quality professional clothes with a contemporary fit at a reasonable price.
And price wasn’t the only problem: I consistently experienced issues with fit. Women are not all the same shape, yet off-the-rack clothes are still made with that assumption. Standard sizing was developed in the 1940s and has not been improved upon much since then. Different brands cut the same size in different ways depending upon their target audience and may employ vanity sizing (sizing larger clothes in smaller sizes) to move merchandise. Eventually, I began getting custom pieces made for myself through tailors online.
All of this was the inspiration and motivation behind my company CARRIE HAMMER. The concept behind the line is that each piece is completely made-to-measure and that every dress is tailored from ten measurements of each individual customer. Women come to my site and pick a dress style, their preferred color, and submit their measurements and fit preferences (such as sleeve and dress length/style). I work with a tailor to create designs that are reflective of current runway trends and my own personal style.
I wear my dresses nearly every day, which I’ve found to be a great sales tool – I get stopped on a daily basis by women asking, “Where did you get that dress?”
The most difficult part of achieving my dream of launching a business was just getting started. I knew I wanted to start my own business, but overcoming my fear of failure and rejection required a huge leap of faith. One day I came to the realization that the only way to start is to start. I came across a quote that gave me courage to begin: “If today is the day that you decide to jump off a cliff, you’ll either be given wings to fly or a ledge to land.” The idea that there could be multiple positive outcomes, even if it looked different than I had originally imagined, helped me get over my original apprehension.
Women are unique — no two women take the same exact career path, no two women have the same exact style, and NO two women have the same exact fit. I am ecstatic to be able to offer more fit and style options for the contemporary working woman. I firmly believe that clothing should be made to fit the woman, not the other way around!
Carrie Hammer is the founder of CARRIE HAMMER CUSTOM APPAREL. A graduate of UCLA and Parsons The New School for Design, Carrie worked in advertising sales for 4 years where she first realized the huge lack in contemporary women’s work wear. This inspired her to start her own line centered around beauty and fit.