We frequently complain about how unimaginative and unoriginal fashion has become. There have been times the past several seasons when New York especially seemed incredibly boring. Already, I’ve griped a couple of times about the seemingly ubiquitous presence of the world’s most boring color: tan. When this happens, I start looking at smaller labels, the ones who don’t have 50 years of expectations holding them down and keeping them in a rut. So, today we took a chance with Chromat, and we are so very glad that we did.
Chromat is an architectural swim and athletic wear company. Instead of coming into the business with a degree in fashion, founder Becca McCharen-Tran comes at the concept with a background in architecture. As a result, the company creates clothes that are not only attractive, but functional and architecturally sound. These are good, solid clothes that can actually stand up to the punishment that comes from real exercise day after grueling day.
So much for the PR chat. We came for the clothes. To be honest, I was a little nervous. I even asked Polina if reviewing Chromat was acceptable. Some athletic wear companies seem to think that they have to compete with Victoria’s Secret for some reason. I’m not really into wasting my time reviewing fancy underwear. Still, it had to be better than a yard full of models standing around in tan leotards until they passed out.
We knew we had found a good place when the show started with performance artist Mela Murder dancing her way between the rows of seats. Then, we noticed that the first model down the runway was quite muscularly toned—and was wearing a nose piece. The tri-colored red/blue/black suit she was wearing was unzipped, giving the look a deep-v cut that was sensual, but still didn’t lose the sense that this girl could probably run a triathlon after the show.
If we had the necessary permissions, I’d show you the entire collection. There’s no question that these clothes are meant for exercising. Yet, with creative use of sheer panels and careful sectioning and deliberate fabric choices, the Chromat team has found a way to create athletic wear one isn’t embarrassed to wear outside the gym. The garments give a women full support where she wants and needs it without getting in the way of the sport.
Equally important is the fact that Chromat is designed for women of every size. To prove it, they used women of every size on their runway. Tall, short, muscular, and even what one might ungraciously refer to as “plus sized.” I became an instant fan of the brand, though, when the fourth look in, a blue/black long sleeve top with black mesh shorts, was modeled by an amputee with an artificial limb. Chromat is that committed to diversity in its clothing.
Okay, there are some athletically-styled dresses toward the end of the collection that are going to do a great job of showing off your muscles if you have them. There’s also a finale piece that might not be exactly gym-worthy but works for that woman who doesn’t leave the gym until she’s already late for the party. This would be the social side of the collection.
Still, what makes this Chromat collection great is their embrace of the strong, the individual, the different, and the driven women that don’t have time to go shopping for a new leotard every other week. These clothes are made to endure physical activity and still look good months later.
We’re happy to have stumbled across the Chromat show this afternoon and look foward to seeing where they take the collection next.