Before models began walking down Chromat’s 2018 NYFW runway, the opening lines from Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade, one of the most talked-about indies of the Summer, played over the speakers, writes Alaina Demopoulos.
As the warped voice of actress Elsie Fisher, playing insecure tween Kayla Day, spat out a definition of what it means to “be yourself,” the show started. According to the Chromat team, the inspiration for the event was wet t-shirt contests. But this was far from a rehashed version of tasteless college dorm pin-ups (Eugenia Kim designed the hats).
Instead, the swimwear line, founded by Becca McCharen-Tran in 2010 and famously seen on Beyoncé during her 2013 Super Bowl performance, took NYFW as an opportunity to fête bodies of all forms.
In July, Chromat extended its sizing to include up to 3X. The move was well received — but this show proves that the label is just getting started.
As an audience that included Whoopi Goldberg watched, McCharen-Tran and team schooled the crowd in what realistic casting really looks like.
Models of different races, sizes, and gender expressions were represented. Mama Cax, a popular blogger and amputee who’s known for decorating her prosthetic leg, was in the lineup.
So was Mia Michaels, a 52-year-old choreographer (and former judge of the reality competition show So You Think You Can Dance).
In the photograph above, Erika Hart, a queer sex educator who just so happens to be a bilateral breast cancer survivor, bared her surgical scars by slowly unzipping a v-neck one piece.
As the full crew did one last walk down the runway, most sported white t-shirts that read “Sample size.” The crowd’s standing ovation was so thunderous that the energy was enough to leave even the most jaded editor optimistic. The brand truly lived up to its Twitter bio of “Future-forward swimwear.”
In a NYFW filled with the frazzled publicists, long lines, and too much exclusivity, the come-as-you-are celebration of Chromat’s show proved a much-needed respite.