The Most Diverse Show at Fashion Week Wants to Make You "Feel Lifted"

Mikelle Street

Chromat is a brand committed to diversity. Season after season, the brand cultivates a cast of models that spans genders, races, and sizes. Last year they had Lauren Wasser, a model who also happens to be an amputee, make her debut on their runway. This season was no different.

A model walks the runway at Brooklyn-based brand Chromat’s show at New York Fashion Week. (Photo: Getty Images)
A model walks the runway at Brooklyn-based brand Chromat’s show at New York Fashion Week. (Photo: Getty Images)

With a swimwear-focused show entitled Buoyancy, designer Becca McCharren-Tran remained devoted to diversity for Fall 2017. Trans model of color Maya Mones, body-positivity activist Iskra Lawrence, and plus-size model Denise Bidot all walked in the line-up. A selection of Asian models and a gender non-conforming model in an ankle-grazing skirt all stomped down the brand’s runway in heeled booties, standing in direct opposition to the industry’s outdated, typically Eurocentric ideas of feminine beauty.

Chromat is committed to diversity in its model castings — this year, the brand featured trans model of color Maya Monès, and plus-size model Denise Bidot. (Photo: Getty Images)
Chromat is committed to diversity in its model castings — this year, the brand featured trans model of color Maya Monès, and plus-size model Denise Bidot. (Photo: Getty Images)

The collection itself was swimwear-focused as that category is a large component of the Brooklyn-based brand’s business. One-piece suits featured cut out backs and straps, while bikinis came skimpy, with most bottoms cut high on the thigh. While there were other pieces (Lawrence wore a wind-breaker trouser), most revolved around swim activities, like the brand’s topless take on a jumpsuit.

To pull it all together, the pieces came styled with bulbous coats, jackets and sometimes even a deconstructed skirt. These air-filled pieces are likely where the collection drew its name from as they took their cues from pool floaties. “We started designing the #AW17Buoyancy collection right before the election,” McCharen-Tran wrote on Instagram. “All the emotional anxiety anxiety we’ve been experiencing, all the determination, the renewed strength and the loss of hope is what we’ve channeled into these clothes.”

Body-positivity activist Iskra Lawrence models one of Chromat’s designs inspired by pool floats. (Photo: Getty Images)
Body-positivity activist Iskra Lawrence models one of Chromat’s designs inspired by pool floats. (Photo: Getty Images)

“More than anything, we wanted to make garments that would help the wearer feel lifted, to keep their head above water and to enable sustained survival in rough, open water,” she continued. It was a noble theme. One standout from this lineup was an oversized, sliced up coat that could have easily been taken as Chromat’s version of the Raf Simons oversized puffer coat that’s been seen on the likes of Rihanna, A$AP Rocky and various street style stars.

UNIIQU3 debuted her new single on Chromat’s runway. (Photo: Getty Images)
UNIIQU3 debuted her new single on Chromat’s runway. (Photo: Getty Images)

McCharen-Tran’s devotion to diversity of all types is a signal that for Chromat, it’s not just a trend or passing fad like it seems to be for others. The designer went a step further this season, even casting UNIIQU3, a curvy performer of color to open the show debuting her new single “Werk Ya Bawdy.” And if the guests had any illusions about how McCharen-Tran felt this love of diversity goes with President Trump’s agenda, as they walked out a female voice began to repeat “**** Donald Trump” on the soundtrack.

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