Each New York Fashion Week marathon gives us a good idea of what the upcoming season’s biggest trends will be. At Ulla Johnson, handcrafted crochet materials seem to have a promising future, while Tom Ford took the ’90s bucket hat and super-sized it for a luxe, modern-day feel. But if Chromat has its way, this season’s hottest trend will be sustainability.
Last night, designer Becca McCharen-Tran presented her “Climatic” collection, which drew inspiration from the balmy city of Miami, where designer McCharen-Tran lives, and the pollution and waste that have soiled the oceans. While waiting for the show to start, I skimmed through Chromat’s show pamphlet which gave show goers something to think about. Questions like, “How important is eco sustainability and/or environmentalism in what you buy?” and “Do you think sustainability and environmentalism as a brand is white-washed?” appeared in the pages, alongside glossy photos of the new collection.
Living in Miami has made McCharen-Tran “interested in climate change and global warming and how we (as part of the fashion industry) are contributing to environmental devastation,” she said in the pamphlet. The result? A show celebrating Earth’s beauty while also highlighting the environmental disasters plaguing the world today.
Featuring a diverse cast of various races and all shapes and sizes, models were draped in bright swimwear made of sustainable lycra, discarded fishing nets, and up-cycled fabrics that will make you look good while doing good for the environment. Models in cut-out underboob bikinis and monokinis, “Babeguard” merch, and shiny cover-ups carried palm leaves and tropical flowers as accessories, a celebration of the beauty produced when Earth is cared for properly. Kien Hoang, lead hairstylist and Oribe director of content, secured the ends of the models’ hair with either a flower or recycled plastic bottle caps.
Perhaps the most striking moment of the show, though, was the sneaky transition from vibrant flora and vegetation as accessories to plastic caps and bottles, signaling the growing problem of plastic waste polluting the ocean. Model Diandra Forrest walked down the runway with a large water jug and Maya Monés closed out the show in a shiny fuchsia number adorned with a black fishing net as a train.
On the last page of the Chromat show notes, guests were invited to “travel to the edge of a dying world” on December 6, 2040, but not without warning: a decrease in oxygen levels, an increase in sea rise level, and a 27 percent population decrease. Is this where our world is heading? Vibrant, Miami-inspired swimwear aside, Chromat’s show was a call for immediate action to protect our environment. Will fashion brands answer?