Chromat, the luxury swim and activewear brand helmed by queer New York designer Becca McCharen-Tran, gave a signature message of female empowerment and inclusivity at its NYFW show this weekend. The runway opened with a powerful performance by DJ UNIIQU3 and closed with a rap from TT the Artist, who proclaimed "Fuck Donald Trump" from her spot on the catwalk.
"Fashion designers decide who is celebrated in the fashion world, and who is invisible," McCharen-Tran told OUT, referencing her notably diverse production, from performers to models. "Representation matters. It's our responsibility to push for inclusivity and empowerment by highlighting diverse and inspiring models for our shows."
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Chromat's runway shows are known in fashion for their inclusive, body-positive casting. Like with previous seasons, Fall '17 invited transgender models Maya Mones (pictured above), Carmen Carrera, and Leyna Bloom to strut their stuff, as well as plus-size model Denise Bidot. That's not to mention Chromat's casting almost exclusively featured women of color.
Beyond casting, the collection delivered incredible structures and silhouettes with architectural puffy jackets and floatie-inspired garments. "We took inspiration from life vests and floatation devices designed for extended survival in rough, open water," McCharen-Tran said. "We collaborated with innovative outdoors company Klymit to design inflatable garments that aid with internal buoyancy and help the wearer stay afloat and protected."
On other art and shows exciting her right now, McCharen-Tran said: "I love my fellow fashion designers Rio at Gypsy Sport and Aurora at Brother Vellies, Fluct (a choreography duo), and a lot of DJs and musicians like DJ Haram (who scored the runway show and is part of my fav DJ collective DISCWOMAN), and the performer, producer, vocalist and DJ UNIIQU3."
Speaking to the current political climate, McCharen-Tran said, "There is a feeling of paranoia, the end of truth and the dawning of a new era of persecution of 'the other' in the current political climate. We know that no one is entitled to a happy ending, and this has further strengthened our drive to fight for the inclusive and empowering world we want to see."