Last September, Chromat's Becca McCharen-Tran blew her competition at New York Fashion Week out of the water with a catwalk show unlike any before it. The show, held at Spring Studios, was meant to celebrate her brand’s 10-year anniversary. And that it did — with an inclusive roster of models and energy that, at the time, seemed unsurpassable. And yet, after having watched the Chromat’s newest offering, a short film titled JOY RUN that was directed by Tourmaline, it’s clear that no one should ever underestimate McCharen-Tran.
On Tuesday evening, the film aired on the CFDA’s digital fashion platform, Runway 360, alongside dozens of other short films and virtual catwalk shows. But just like the in-person events the brand has hosted in the past, JOY RUN was a standout. The film jumps from recorded Zoom calls with guests, including trans athletes Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller and ACLU lawyer and transgender rights activist Chase Strangio, to shots of the new collection modelled on McCharen-Tran’s “Chromat babes”: Chella Man, a trans and deaf artist who recently starred in Calvin Klein’s Pride campaign; Maya Finoh, a cultural worker known as Savage x Fatty; Jerron Herman, an artist, writer, and dancer with cerebral palsy; and Maya Margarita, a non-binary trans femme artist. Photographer Lia Clay Miller shot the accompanying campaign lookbook.
Among the looks featured in the video were bike shorts, crop tops, track pants, and face masks, all as colourful and vibrant as the playground they were modelled on. The latter are new for the brand, and are constructed specifically to protect athletes against COVID-19 spread. They come in four colours — red, blue, green, and yellow — and two cuts — pleated and seamed.
Made in partnership with Reebok, the film focuses on the important role that team sports and athletes play in bringing people together and making everyone feel powerful in their bodies. “We are in a moment where so much is happening on an international and local level around sports that reproduce a world we don’t need or deserve,” the press release reads. “JOY RUN models the ways that sport — in its broadest form — can be a force for pleasure, for lifting each other up, for revealing in the deliciousness of our bodies.”
In the film, Yearwood and Miller discuss the difficulties and discrimination they face as trans athletes. “I personally do not feel that one would choose to go through all that we have to go through with transitioning solely to win a few medals,” Yearwood said. Both runners were defendants in a lawsuit that sought to block them from competing in girls high school sports in Connecticut. “They’re making it seem like we’re the only two transgender athletes ever in the whole world,” Miller says. “And we’re really not, it’s just that we speak up and we stand for ourselves, which is important. And I feel like when other trans people see that, it really inspires them to do the same because not everyone is brave and outspoken like we are.”
“If we are not going to, then who is?” Yearwood asks.
See the film and the new collection, here.