Style & Fashion

New York Fashion Week

Chromat’s NYFW bodies should be the rule, not exception

The Daily Beast

February 9, 2018

The diversity of body shapes and models on the runway at a Chromat show shouldn’t be so radical. But it is. Every Chromat fashion show–by far one of the most exuberant and original at New York Fashion Week–serves to underline prevailing fashion’s many iniquities. The “Wavy” show of AW18, was, like other Chromat shows, both a celebration of itself, and an implicit shaming of the majority-circus around it.

Why, you find yourself thinking, does this world trick the mind into thinking all women should be so thin; why are so many of the models so white? If there is a plus-size model (the most ridiculous phrase that fashion has enforced upon us), why is she on her own? Why are there not more non-binary models?

At Chromat, all colors and sizes and identities are welcome. They proudly share the runway to model Becca McCharen-Tran’s brightly colored swimwear, with bags of Cheetos or flotation devices the accessories. Think bright orange, bright yellow, reds, blues and blacks. Flesh was firm, flesh also jiggled. But flesh there was, and pride in difference. (And also a closing performance by Slayrizz, which bought the audience whooping to its feet.)

In her note to the audience, McCharen-Tran said the show was an attempt “to find joy and escape within the spiral.” She imagined wearing the collection eating those Flaming Hot Cheetos “on a boat in the Hudson.”

The aim of Chromat is to bring marginalized voices into the conversation, whether that, said McCharen-Tran, is salary equity with white male-coworkers, “or to have your boundaries respected in your private life.”

“Telling people what you want is powerful,” McCharen-Tran concluded, and the truth of that is emblemized in this collection, which is both celebratory and challenging. The joy in the room at the end was its own affirmation of not only the clothes, but the theory. Enjoy those Cheetos.