For decades, New York Fashion Week has been leading the charge towards a more inclusive and diverse industry. And key players like Chromat's Becca McCharen-Tran, who showed her spring 2019 collection on Friday, are continuing to keep the industry honest. For the show's finale, models walked down the runway in statement T-shirts that read "Sample Size." The catch? By current, longstanding industry standards, they weren't sample size at all.
The move comes at a good time. Well, a bad time, technically, if you take into consideration that the 0.4% of plus-size models who make up castings for Fashion Month is getting smaller by the season. But as brands who once touted diversity as more than just a fad are now dialing it back, Chromat — as it's always done — isn't backing down. Last season, Tran sent an army of transgender, nonbinary, curvy, Black, Asian, White, Hispanic, differently abled, short, tall — etc. etc. etc. — models down the runway in her signature architectural swim- and athletic-wear.
As models walked towards the pit of photographers — this season sans bags of Hot Cheetos — the audience roared. It was the complete antithesis — nay, the cure — to the stale and stuffy traditional runway format of 30 to 50 models who all look the same, walk the same, and don't move a finger out of place as they showcase the latest size 0 to 4 designs to a crowd who will access to them before anyone else; to fashion shows that end in a (somehow) silent, controlled applause.
There's nothing like watching one to two plus-size models walking down a runway; their mere inclusion saying "If I belong here, you belong here, too." But, at Chromat, there is power in numbers: dozens, actually. And, in case you're still wondering just why designers should make clothes for the 67% of women in the U.S. who are above a size 14, they'll even spell it out for you. Chromat is calling it now: The days of sample sizing are over.