Chromat

Boundary-pushing swimwear brand Chromat is no stranger to inclusivity. Since its launch in 2010, the label, helmed by former architect Becca McCharen-Tran, has been at the forefront of body positivity, using an “all bodies accepted here” approach in its runway shows and campaigns.

But the brand’s latest campaign may be its best yet. Riffing on the typical “pool rules” we’re used to seeing this time of year, Chromat set its own rules for wearing swimwear this summer:

  1. Intolerance Not Tolerated
  2. Body Policing Prohibited
  3. Scars and Stretch Marks Welcome
  4. All Abilities Accepted
  5. Food-Shaming Not Permitted
  6. Body Hair Appreciated
  7. Celebrate Cellulite
  8. No Age Restrictions
  9. Respect Preferred Pronouns
  10. Unrestricted LGBTQ+ PDA.

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To enforce the new rules, Chromat cast a “Babeguard,” featuring plus modeling pioneer Emme and supermodel Denise Bidot, sex educator and double mastectomy survivor Ericka Hart, amputee and activist Mama Cax, and model and trans activist Geena Rocero, all of whom have worked with the label in past runway shows and campaigns. As McCharen-Tran told Glamour:

I just really loved thinking about all the messaging we see around summertime, and how it can be such a vulnerable time for people—I wanted to make a campaign that really celebrated all these amazing trailblazers in the fashion industry ... and they all represent a certain type of advocacy to change culture and push the culture forward.

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To create the campaign, Chromat collaborated with creative agency Berlin Cameron, whose president, Jennifer DaSilva, is also the founder of a company female entrepreneurship initiative called Girl Brands Do It Better. Da Silva told Glamour the goal of Chromat’s campaign was “to change the traditional pool rules for mass representation this summer and create something truly impactful,” working with McCharen-Tran to focus-group their 10 rules for inclusive summer fun.

Kristy Heilenday, Berlin Cameron’s senior art director, told Glamour: “We wanted to create a campaign that allowed us to show off Chromat’s amazing swimwear in a way that also hit on the radical, inclusive values of the brand. ... Every swimming pool has a poster of their rules, so we decided to take that and reimagine the rules to speak to something more meaningful.”

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Campaign photographer Anastasia Garcia has been a longtime body positivity advocate as well as working with Chromat for several seasons. She told The Glow Up she saw in this campaign a very unique opportunity to capture something she’d never seen in swim campaigns growing up.

I am a short, fat Hispanic woman. I have never seen myself represented in media ... So, working on this project, I really wanted to make sure that we were able to showcase as much diversity within a five-person cast as we could. I wanted to make sure that when young girls and women—and men—look at this campaign, they can see themselves represented for various different reasons.

Garcia also told us she’s hoping this campaign opens up our perceptions of what a “beach body” is, and who is “allowed” to wear a swimsuit.

I get messages, and texts, and emails, and Instagram comments from women every day who talk about how their biggest fear is being in a swimsuit ... that breaks my heart, and when I have those types of conversations with people, it only furthers the sense of responsibility that I have as a photographer to create images that are going to help hopefully shift the way that women feel about that.

Everyone should be able to put on a swimsuit and feel great about themselves—whether they have scars or stretch marks, or whether they’re young or old, or differently-abled or not—the pool and the beach should be a place where everyone can feel celebrated, and I really hope that this campaign will help people realize that.

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McCharen-Tran agrees that the conversation is ongoing, and, as she shared with Glamour, the mission is personal.

As a fashion designer, as a swim designer, we have a lot of responsibility to put out imagery that we want to see, that really reflects the people in our world and [doesn’t] just ascribe to this narrow definition of what a beach body [looks like]. We recognize the aspirational nature of swim campaigns, and we want to change that, to open up this aspiration and this dream to more people. ... The goal is for inclusivity to not even be a press message—this should be the norm.