A Fluid Conversation with Dr. Hammonds on  Fashion, Influence and Self Love The Virtuoso Himself Speaks 

Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds is definitely not an apprentice when it comes to fashion.  Not only does Dr. Hammond have a prowess for fashion, but his perspective on life, self love and integrity are just as polished.  For those of you who may not have heard of him, Dr. Hammonds came from humble beginnings working his way through the ranks to gain the recognition that he now has as “Dean of Fashion.”  His reputation precedes him; in class but of course.  

A native of Columbus, GA,  Hammonds has broadened his expertise on fashion through travel as well as hands- on training.  Starting out in the classroom as a teacher, his career changed trajectory in 2002, serving as an advisory support with URUP.  Transitioning, he went to work at Neiman Marcus, as an Assistant HR Manager, and ultimately plateaued to serve as Academic Dean of the Fashion Program at The Art Institute of Atlanta.  During his tenure, he established the Fashion Design Curriculum for The Art Institute of Atlanta.  His fashion and academic intellect provided him the opportunity to charter new academic programs including the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design (BFA).  Hammond’s educational background includes a Doctorate in Business Administration from Argosy University, an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Mgmt., and a Bachelor’s in Education from Alabama State University. Not only is he jazzy and upscale, the Dr. is brilliantly astute.  

A Conversation with Fashion- From Idea to Conception

How can we continue the progression of culture of expansion and evolution?  When it comes to fashion, Dr. Hammonds has over 23 years of tailored experience in the fashion industry.  “A lot of it has been organic growth and some of it has been forced growth.  The conversation of fashion has really been infused in so many different genres; expanding from Miss Universe being caucasian and filipino.  Who would’ve ever thought a transgender woman from Thailand would become the owner of the Miss Universe Pageant?  Inclusion and acceptability are all those things that matter when having that conversation.  Everybody matters.  “I never want to be a part of an organization or organism that isn't moving or growing.  Everyone deserves to have a voice at the table.  Brown, black, white, gay, straight. When they have a voice at the table, it will translate into the brand that is being represented.  Representation matters.  Evolving, black, gray, brown and blue suits…..are no longer the trend.  Fashion is a universal language.

What is a power suit?

A power suit is when you can walk in a room without having the “traditional eye gate,” and there’s no conversation or push back. Traditionally, it has been the norm that a suit and tie, or pumps and pantyhose, was the passport of acceptable fashion.  Now, because fashion is an ever revolving door, and more so since the pandemic, you can look however you want to- but can you serve in the capacity that you’re required to serve in?  (This reminded me of the cliché, you can’t judge a book by its cover).  

Oftentimes, society has the propensity to “size you up” because of your outward appearance without knowing your credentials.  Hammonds used the analogy of playing spades; while giving credence to himself that he was the best spade player in the room.  You only pull your “spade” when you need it.  It applies to life as well.  Hammonds went on to expound on the value of having organic conversations which equates to truth.  He emphasized the depth of not sharing everything with everyone.  For instance, posting on social media can be detrimental when it comes to salvaging and protecting our space. The narrative that displays on our timeline may not exemplify who we really are- or the brand that we represent.    

“Be and Do”

Continue to be who you are and continue to do the work.  Wearing the suit of comfortability is priceless.  Admiring others' creativity and their success is great.  But ask yourself, “what are you going to do better and greater to leave as your legacy? What legacy are you going to create?”  There’s no formula for success. There’s no time frame that’s going to be your “aha moment.”  Misconception: You have to be careful when you say that you want to be just like this person or that person.  Take the lessons learned as what to do and what not to do.  The fashion guru reiterated the power of being processed.  It has taken him umpteen years to become the person that he is today.  He has refused to clone himself to be accepted by others and society.  This is why he can wear the suit of comfortability.  Can you? There’s a difference in earning your space and it being given- even if you received it by recommendation because it speaks to your character….what a gold nugget of information!

Mantra: “Build, Educate and Style”

Level of  boundaries and grace- extend grace because you want grace extended to you. Read out of the scope of your industry.  How are you building your mind muscle? By building, you surround yourself with others that are greater than you. Educate: You don’t want to be the smartest person in the room.  Introspection is key.  Everything is not all about you.  Whether we realize it or not, people watch our lives, and by doing so, we are showing them that it’s possible. Whatever it is that you want to do- they too can also fulfill their dreams- but you have to do the work. You can be whatever you want to be.

Style- you have to look the part.  Creating that imagery that you want represented in the world.  Hammonds admitted that your trajectory changes over time.  And that’s absolutely ok.  Again, going back to comfortability- acknowledging and recognizing that you’re an asset and not a liability.  Maintain a position wherein people always want you around.  

Never depreciate.  Date yourself- on purpose.  Recharge.  You can’t give what you don’t have.

Change Agent is definitely suitable for Dr.. Hammonds.  As you look at the scope of his life and all that he has accomplished; it's obvious that he is tailored to shift atmospheres, mindsets and wardrobes.  He describes fashion as ministry.  Unlike his father, who stands behind a pulpit, he’s been called to the marketplace.  

Hammonds is the CEO of CAH & CO. Consulting Group, a boutique consulting firm which provides expertise in the creative, academic, and HR sector for leaders and organizations from multiple industries.   CAH’s mission is to equip their clients with solutions that will fundamentally provide tangible results.  His innovative approach is strategic to implementation and empowerment of best practices.  

Congratulations to Dr. Hammond on the release of his first short film for his children's book,
“9 Ways to Live Like a Prince.”  In total, Dr. Hammonds has authored five books that encompasses fashion, style and philanthropy.  Available on Amazon.  You can follow him on Instagram@imdrcah or www.imdrcah.com

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