For Becca McCharen-Tran, the founder of swim and athleticwear label Chromat, diversity isn't a fleeting trend, it's imperative. Since establishing her label in 2010, the architect turned fashion designer has championed diverse casting both on the runway and in Chromat's playful imagery — the brand's summer 2018 "Pool Rules" campaign, for example, which shook up the Internet with its call for acceptance of body types not typically welcomed around the pool.
Last night, McCharen-Tran showed Chromat's spring 2019 collection with the help of a diverse cast including breast cancer survivor and sex educator Ericka Hart, advocate and amputee Mama Cax, trans model Maya Mones, writer and art curator Kimberly Drew, hijabi model Kadija Diawara, and actor Deandra Forrest. Titled "Saturation," the range of swim suits, coverups, and active separates in sky blue, bubble gum pink, yellow, black, and white — topped with swim caps and crown-less straw bowler hats made in collaboration with milliner Eugenia Kim — made a case for confidence by way of bold color combinations.
Now six seasons in, McCharen-Tran's celebration of various races, sizes, ages, and abilities has begun to rub off on other brands, prompting them to take steps toward inclusivity. Despite this, the body positivity at Chromat continues to be novel expression at the New York shows and beyond. Until it becomes the norm, McCharen-Tran's fierce cast is perfectly comfortable leading the charge.