Every now and then there comes a brand that breaks the mold, shakes up our preconceived notions about fashion and revolutionizes the scope of the garment. Chromat is one of those brands. With a degree in architecture, designer Becca McCharen decided to take a stab at fashion, creating a hybrid between an accessory and a garment.
Her one-of-a-kind wearable exoskeletons strike the perfect balance between unabashed femininity and strong architectural form and function. With a cult like following of today’s style icons including Madonna and Nicki Minaj, along with gracing the pages of and ELLE and VOGUE, Chromat is taking over the fashion world one strip of leather at a time.
We caught up with the designer to learn more about the inspiration behind her collection, the Chromat woman and beyond.
AW: Describe your brand in three words.
BM: Architecture Fashion Party
AW: How has your degree in architecture shaped your aesthetic as a fashion designer?
BM: It definitely laid the foundation for shaping the process of design from initial concept research to finished samples. Also, my architecture school work ethic lives on!
AW: What is your favorite building?
BM: The Pompidou in Paris by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. I love how all the interior functions of the building- the mechanical units, plumbing, staircases, etc have been extracted from the interior and displayed on the facade.
AW: What similarities do you see in architecture and fashion?
BM: The process of design is very similar, but the timeline and site is different. In architecture your site is the building site, the timeline is years. In fashion, the site is the human body, the timeline is seasonal- every 6 months for spring and fall collections.
AW: Besides architecture what inspires your design?
BM: The inspiration for each collection varies. The most recent AW13 collection was inspired by mathematical equations and how they translate into 3-D forms. The current SS13 collection was inspired by strong, fearless women and feminist punks like Joan Jett, Pussy Riot and the Guerrilla Girls.
AW: Describe the kind of woman you design for.
BM: Strong, capable and interesting.
AW: How and when did you make the transition from architecture to fashion designing?
BM: They have always been dual interests of mine. While I was studying architecture, my college job was as a seamstress in the Drama Dept costume shop, sewing elaborate Victorian bustles and other period pieces. It wasn't until 2010 when I actually quit my day job as an Architect/ Urban Planner to pursue Chromat full time.
AW: If you had to pick one piece from your collection which one would it be?
BM: The Chromat Underwire Bralette is the perfect piece to wear under a loose tank or crop top this spring. I'm excited about warm weather again and showing off my personal Chromat collection on the dance floor.