Feb 102018

Welcome to Runway Matters, where we’re delivering notes straight from the runway so you can quickly digest the most important trends and noteworthy moments from the F/W 18 shows.

“This’ll be the most inclusive show you’ll see,” a friend told me as I ran into her right as the Chromat show was about to begin. I believed it. There are so many designers continuing to make an effort to ensure their runways accurately reflect the world we live in. But for anyone paying attention to Becca McCharen-Tran’s swimwear and athletic line, being inclusive has always at the center of her brand.

That said, witnessing a Chromat runway show, hearing all the hollering and clapping as every model comes down the runway, is an entirely different experience. It’s wild and fun, it’s a straight-up celebration of every woman and non-binary individual who walked (read: slayed) the runway.

Here’s a breakdown of what to know.

Entitled WAVVY, the collection’s theme was all about “trying to find joy and escape within the spiral,” as McCharen-Tran wrote on her show notes. It taps into a feeling we can all relate to on some level, and in the more obvious way, included hiking-inspired looks (bungee cords, included), tons of sporty swimwear, and playful touches that all lent themselves to a fun, and unconventional, trip just outside the city.

Let’s just say there was more than one bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that walked the runway. And yes, of course the models were eating them.

Chromat has always included women in their shows who aren’t just models—they’re activist, artists, and so much more. But this year, the show specifically included breast cancer survivor Erick Hart, who’s known for her viral images where she shares her double mastectomy scars, and Viktoria Modesta, a pop artist and amputee who walked the runway with the help of her prosthetic leg.

Chromat has created zines in the past to go along with the new collection, but seeing as this was my first time attending, I was so excited to take one home with me. Sure, every runway has its show notes, but this small pamphlet, filled with an original poem by Jahmal B. Golden and a recap of text messages and internet history searches that inspired the collection, really gave us a true look at how it came together.

It’s true: There is a little bit of a high you feel when leaving a runway show as joyful and as inviting as Chromat’s. Fashion can too often be serious and exclusive, and this felt like neither. The clothing was bright and playful (and vacation-ready!), the music was pumping, the crowd was encouraging, and most importantly, it seemed as though everyone there felt welcome and part of the celebration.

Chromat's Runway Felt Like a Party, Complete With Flamin' Hot Cheetos
Source: Who What Wear

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