Becca McCharen studied architecture at the University of Virginia where her courses introduced a method of design through technical CAD drawings. Her summers were spent pouring concrete foundations and building carpentry framing on a construction crew, learning solid joint structures and dynamic material combinations in the process.Following McCharen's graduation in 2006, she worked on everything from construction documents to urban revitalization master plans for several architecture and urban design firms. She also joined the Peace Corps as a municipal development volunteer focused on urban adaptive reuse in El Salvador.In 2008, informed by her obsession with scaffolding, McCharen began mapping the joints on the human body through architectural corsetry. Through an architect co-worker, McCharen was able to meet a New York-based fashion designer that was opening a pop-up shop in the Lower East Side. The Chromat cage bras, bustiers, and dresses that were sent to the shop quickly sold out and attracted attention from blogs and stylists.Several re-orders later, McCharen left her urban design job in Virginia to move to New York City. Chromat was based out of McCharen's bedroom in Brooklyn for its first two years. Five years later, Chromat now has a larger studio with a team of eight designing, producing, and marketing each new Chromat collection.Chromat has evolved from McCharen's early architectural body cage experiments into womenswear, swimwear, lingerie, footwear, and accessories. Chromat has been included in Milk's MADE Fashion Week for the past three New York Fashion Week seasons, and have continued to grow their stockists including Opening Ceremony, Barneys, and Nordstrom. Through world tours for Beyoncé, Madonna, and Nicki Minaj, McCharen has had the incredible opportunity to work with the strong, powerful women who inspire Chromat.Structures are built to adapt to the climate and its users, and McCharen expects clothing to do the same. Clothing, like good architecture, should sense the wearer's environment and body in order to respond, protect and adapt accordingly. McCharen views each garment as armor or scaffolding for the body, empowering the wearer to become the strongest, most powerful version of herself.
|The Fashion Fund||Chromat 10 episodes, 2016||2014-01-22|