This designer uses role models instead of runway models in her fashion shows. The result is magical.

These women are changing the face of fashion — one runway step at a time.

What do you expect to see when you're sitting front-row at a fashion show?

I envisioned Anna Wintour and other fashion bigwigs stoically watching models walking down the runway. I was wrong.


I can tell she's not thrilled. Or maybe she is. WHO KNOWS? GIF via "60 Minutes."

This year, there was a show at New York Fashion Week that totally blew it out of the water. And the crowd? We reacted like this:

Encore, encore!

"What is this alternative fashion universe you speak of?" you ask.

Well, it certainly isn't your momma's fashion show. Are you ready?


Buckle your seatbelts. You're going to be blown away.

Meet Carrie Hammer. At a time when model diversity in the industry is still painfully absent, this designer is revolutionizing fashion and celebrating diversity in a serious way.

Carrie Hammer takes the runway after a successful show.

A few years ago, Hammer noticed there was a lack of options for fashionable yet professional women's clothes. So, she started her own line designed to make women feel good — inside and out.

Not only does she create amazing designs, but this year's fashion show felt like a party and a revolution to celebrate "role models not runway models."

Yep. That's right. Hammer doesn't use traditional models for her shows. Instead, she focuses on role models. As she explained to Upworthy:

"They embody what it means to be a positive, powerful woman. They make the clothes come alive. That's why I make these clothes — to make women feel incredible and empowered. And what better women than the women I'm making these clothes for to model them?" — Carrie Hammer

The women she chose to walk her runway transcend race, disability, and body types — they're a reflection of the people we see everyday, including ourselves. At a time when diversity in the fashion world is still severely lacking, Carrie Hammer's work is a breath of fresh air. And her shows provide a glimpse of what the future might look like if we truly celebrated differences in fashion.

Here are just a few of the amazing women who helped Carrie Hammer lead a runway revolution, one stiletto step at a time:

— La Neice Collins, communications and advocacy advisor at the United Nations

"I wanted to [walk in the show] because I actually want to see people on the catwalk who look like me. Whenever I see fashion shows, I think, 'Oh those clothes are nice. I can never wear them.' So I thought, 'You know what? It might be nice to get over my fears and actually be a normal-sized woman with lumps and all on the catwalk.' And maybe someone will be like, 'Oh my god! That's fantastic!'" — La Neice Collins

After spending years working for media outlets like NBC, NPR, and CNN, Collins took her producing, writing, and editing skills to the United Nations to make an even bigger impact. Now, she's using her expertise to help women and girls who are subjected to sexual violence in conflict.

— Tolu Olubunmi, social entrepreneur and DREAM activist

"Fashion to me means individuality. It's being happy with what you have on — whatever that is. Expressing yourself in whatever way makes you feel the most satisfied with your person, I think that's fashionable." — Tolu Olubunmi

You don't have to adjust your screen — that is a photo of Olubumni with President Obama behind her. She's a Nigerian-born activist who has used her experience and public policy expertise to push for immigration reform, including the passage of the DREAM Act. Her social entrepreneurship was recognized by the World Economic Forum, which named her one of 15 women changing the world in 2015.

— Rakia Reynolds, founder and president of Skai Blue Media


"My favorite part [of being in the show] was meeting so many women! These women are boss! Bad. Ass. And the fact that I got to be around so many badass women was ah-mazing."— Rakia Reynolds

Reynolds is a Philadelphia-based public relations guru who has brought her talents to places like MTV, TLC, and Discovery Health. Her work's been so great that, in 2012, she was recognized on Dell's Inspire 100 list of world-changers. Check out her entrepreneurial journey on the White House blog and read her full bio on her company's site.

— Maysoon Zayid, comedian, disability advocate, and writer

"I have a really weird relationship with fashion because I mostly wear gym suits since I'm from New Jersey. I learned a lot about fashion this week because I learned that a dress can change how you feel and how you look. I never thought a dress could be that transformational, but it was." — Maysoon Zayid

Zayid is another woman kicking butt in so many realms. In addition to her acting and writing experience, she is an outspoken activist for people with disabilities and Palestinian rights. If she looks familiar, it may be because Maysoon's TEDWomen talk was the site's most popular in 2014, raking in over 7 million views. Read more about her and her work on her website.

Hammer's movement is already having a ripple effect. Other designers are diversifying their models, too.

Last season, actress Jamie Brewer of "American Horror Story" fame walked in Hammer's show, making her the first person with Down syndrome to walk the runway at Fashion Week. This season? Australian model Madeline Stuart modeled for FTL MODA, becoming the second person with Down syndrome to model at Fashion Week.

Carrie Hammer with actress Jamie Brewer backstage. Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images.

Check out the full listing of this year's models and check out the fashion revolution on Twitter and Instagram: #RoleModelsNotRunwayModels.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

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