Words by Nick Slay
NYFW Chromat Swim wins the award for inclusion this season, however why is this highlight not the norm in 2018?
Becca McCharen-Tran, the brilliant designer behind Chromat Swim, has always been unconventional. Who else sends their runway models out to walk fueled on Red Hot Cheetos, Red Bull, and an abundance of unfiltered “Girl Power?” But more than that, it seems that Becca has ended the conversation on diversity and shows us how it’s done in 2018.
When most people think of diversity, the strategy is usually, “lets make sure we have some sistas and Latinas so the affirmative action people will get off our backs.” Inclusion, especially in the fashion industry should go so much further. Chromat Swim consistently does that. It means having more than just every shade on the white runway, but every body type too. That means curves, paraplegic, or just plain non-traditional. Young girls from every race, disability, walk of life should see themselves strutting their under the bright lights.
Right Said Fred would totally cosign that these women are “too sexy” for everything they bring to the table. On this year’s Chromat catwalk we saw transgender, curvy, Black, Asian, White Hispanic, differently abled, short, and tall hit the camera pit with a sense of self awoken fierceness that deserves two snaps from the sultan of top models herself, queen Tyra Banks. However as we fight the celebrity-in-chief, his “Trumpism” and new age made for TV fascism, Fashion Week is a place where women of color and non-traditional body types are usually overlooked or used as a diversity ploy for ratings and news captions.
To quote the famous stylist Eman B. Fendi who is of Egyptian and Palestinian lineage, she had a couple of different notes for fashion week this year after attending the Chromat show:
“Eh yo Vogue this what INCLUSIVE looks like,” exclaimed Fendi on her social media post directly after the show.
In terms of the noted change in the industry of there being more women of color she attributed it to the success of black designers and went on to say:
“I think because of the strong influx of Black designers such as Jerry Lorenzo, Virgil Abloh, LaQuan Smith, Shane Oliver and so many more, it forces a change. These designers support their own and in return giving full exposure of the culture. You have no option but to include and allow others around you to grow. There’s room for everyone to win.
My honest opinion: the more people of color in power, the more drastic of a change we can make in the industry. Just look at Pyer Moss last night; Black designers with the most diverse casting. In return, people support and when other designers see it, it inspires them to do different. Domino effect.”
The end goal? Fashion should see the Chromat show and take notes. If the fashion industry truly wants to tout they are making better strides than other industries in terms of diversity, they must strive towards true inclusion. Fashion is for everyone. This is America, if you can afford to buy it, you should see yourself represented in souls who strut down the catwalk. When we are all seen as looking fabulous, true acceptance begins.
Full Runway Video Below: