CHROMAT: AVANT FASHION. AVANT DANCE.
Carlos Serrao, the lensman behind much of ESPN’s ‘The Body Issue’ (2014) and many international ad campaigns (Nike, Adidas, and Reebok, for example), teamed up with Imagista fashion director Wendy McNett to create an inspired series of exclusive images. Carlos, well-known for his ability to capture rarified moments of action, decided to cast a dancer for this series while Wendy brought avant-garde style with fashion line Chromat.
Chromat inspired us so that we asked it’s designer, Becca McCharen, to share with Imagista what inspires and motivates her most.
Imagista: How long have you been designing and how did you get into it?
Becca McCharen: I went to the University of Virginia for Architecture. I took a sewing class and was hired by UVA’s costume department. The clothing experiments happened in my off-time from work. I would come home and just make things for myself and my friends and then eventually it snowballed into something bigger. Eventually, I wanted to do something more concept-based. In 2010, I moved to Brooklyn and started making collections; that’s when Chromat began.
Imagista: How would you describe your approach to design?
BM: With Chromat, I’m interested in taking all the interior functions of fashion— the zippers, the boning, the underwire—and extruding that to the exterior to make a sort of exoskeleton or armor for the body.
Imagista: What do you love about designing?
BM: I love making strange things. I love playing with materials and creating joint structures.
Imagista: What are you most proud of in regards to your career?
BM: We get to envision the future and bring it to fruition and show the world what we think is going to happen next. We don’t have to monitor trends. Marketability doesn’t inhibit our design process. We’ve designed pieces in the past that we thought were “sellable” and no one picked them up. We’ve managed to find a niche in fashion that wants us to take fashion as far from where it is as we can.
Imagista: What is coming up that really excites you?
BM: The Bjork retrospective coming to MoMA! If I go missing from March 7 to June 7, 2015, you will find me there.
Imagista: Who or what is your greatest inspiration, either within or outside of fashion?
BM: I love McQueen, Gaultier, Comme des Garcons. The weirder the better. Outside of fashion, the Centre Pompidou in Paris is my favorite building. It was built by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, and they took all the interior functions of the building—the mechanical units, staircases, plumbing pipes—and extruded that to the façade. That’s exactly what we experiment with at Chromat.
Imagista: Who in the creative world do you most identify with or are most inspired by? What about them inspires you?
BM: My holy trinity is Bjork, Missy Elliott and Frida Kahlo. I love strong, powerful, innovative women.
Imagista: What makes you the happiest?
BM: Making a new swimsuit on Friday and wearing it to the beach on Saturday. Putting together my #LEWK for a Chromat Party.
Imagista: What do you like to spend your money on?
BM: I love to buy Chromat knockoffs to see the wide range of construction techniques. I have a Chromat knockoff collection at the studio. Every time I find a new one I have to buy it.
Imagista: Who or what do you love most in the world and why?
BM: Well, my family, for supporting me and my work. They’re the biggest Chromat fans: my dad tapes every Chromat appearance on television and bakes the studio cookies when we’re preparing for a new collection launch. And my girlfriend, Christine. She is the ultimate ride-or-die chick by my side through every single thing I take on.
Imagista: If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing or like to be doing?
BM: I love contemporary movement and have always admired dancers. I don’t have the skills for complex choreography, but in a dream world that’s what I would love to do.
Imagista: Who do you think is the most underrated designer or other artist to you?
Imagista: What do you most value in life?
Imagista: What are your three favorite places on the planet?
BM: Well, I love Bushwick, where I live. Chromat went to Miami Swim Week last summer, and I fell in love. Same with Italy, after staying in Venice for a week. Basically, I love a thriving culture with amazing architecture.
Imagista: If you were a bumper sticker, what would it say?
*All Clothes By: CHROMAT http://chromat.co/