As the activewear market sees more demand with people exercising at home during quarantine, the shift begs the question: why aren’t brands investing in plus-size workout gear? It’s a query that Chromat founder Becca McCharen-Tran first explored during her Fall 2020 show at New York Fashion Week, dreaming up a collection where activewear is seen through a gender and size inclusive lens.
One of the most forward-thinking brands on the Fashion Month calendar, Chromat eschewed the traditional runway show format in favor of a workout session and collection inspired by the Olympics. McCharen-Tran reimagined the Olympics as a diverse and welcoming space, breaking down the barriers that plus-size women, transgender women, non-binary people, and intersex athletes regularly face in fitness.
“We wanted to reimagine sports as something where everybody could compete as they are,” McCharen-Tran explained to Bustle. “For me, more than just t-shirts or hoodies or swimsuits, Chromat is that vehicle where I can interpret and synthesize the world and what’s going on in pop culture and reimagine it and create the inclusive world I want to see.”
The collection, available now on Chromat’s website, goes up to a 4XL, and that size range is still a rarity in the activewear market. It’s also uncommon to see bold and trendy designs available in plus size ranges. With crop tops, shorts, one pieces, and track suits, McCharen-Tran tackles activewear for an extensive size range while maintaining a fashion-forward point of view.
As is customary for the brand, neon plays a key role in all of the designs, whether it be through piping or the prints themselves. A majority of the pieces are constructed in sea blue and tangerine orange, though hints of red, yellow green are scattered throughout the looks. McCharen-Tran also uses lines to add an extra layer of intrigue and movement to many of the pieces.
McCharen-Tran’s attention to detail is groundbreaking in plus-size activewear as stylish options are severely lacking. And that dearth of options is tied to the stigma that plus-size people are lazy and don’t live active lifestyles. Not only is it wholly untrue, it’s an enduring stereotype that impacts the community in harmful ways. In some cases, plus-size people are even discouraged from pursuing passions that center around fitness as it’s assumed they don’t participate. With a new crop of plus size fitness influencers and high energy performers like Lizzo — who was featured in the Chromat NYFW show soundtrack — it’s clear that could be further from the truth.
From the design approach to the high intensity workout classes at NYFW, Chromat’s new collection is an electrifying reminder that every single body is capable of moving, and should be able to do so in style. Shop select styles from the latest Chromat below: