For seasons, Chromat fashion shows have felt like Tumblr brought to life. The brand's founder, Becca McCharen-Tran — who got married this summer to her business and life partner Christine McCharen-Tran — has worked consistently with her team to create the most diverse runway castings and to collaborate with a wide variety of artists. They've joined forces with like-minded creatives on everything from their shows' soundtracks to their after party fliers. So it only seems fitting that the creative microblogging community recognize McCharen for her efforts.
"I don't have enough words to say about how special the relationship has been between me and Chromat," model Denise Bidot said as she presented McCharen and Chromat with the Tumblr Fashion Honor on Wednesday night, during New York Fashion Week. Previous honorees include Nicola Formichetti, Jeremy Scott, and Laura and Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte.
Bidot began working with the brand as the fit model for its Curve line and then opened the subsequent show. Her appearance in every Chromat runway show since then, as well as at that Tumblr awards event only underscores the brand's focus on diversity. This season the runway show also featured models like the body positive activist Iskra Lawrence as well as Maya Mones, who is transgender.
"We've been shooting fashion week and working with Chromat for 12 seasons and every single season Chromat is one of the most photographed shows," Valentine Uhovski, Tumblr's Fashion Evangelist, told i-D in the lull between ShyBoi's and Speakerfoxxx's DJ sets. "The creators that we send [to their show], whether it's sketch artists or gif creators, they create the most incredible content that really stands the test of time." At the event itself, McCharen tried to do that again.
The party featured art by multidisciplinary creative duo PussyKrew, who riffed on the themes of the runway show. "We met [Becca] online maybe a year ago," Tikul of PussyKrew said. "We just found we had a lot of things in common like a fascination with body and technology and those sorts of things, so we wanted to collaborate." Dancer Mela Murder opened the Chromat runway show with a performance, and as models walked, 3-D printers created statuettes based on scans of her body. For their collaboration, Pussykrew took those same scans, done by Body Labs, and turned them into an immersive experience projected onto the walls of the party venue. The projections also included imagery of stones and cresting waves, to tell the collection's story of "fluids, discipline, toughness, and the power behind female athletes."
"It's surreal," McCharen said of the honor and list of past recipients. "These are the people that I've looked up to. They, to me, represent art in fashion and that's something that I've always wanted to be aligned with and that I'm personally interested in. To see that other people see what I do in that way is totally amazing."
Text Mikelle Street
Photography Kathy Lo