FIT hosted a full-day symposium on Friday in conjunction with the opening of its new museum exhibit "The Body: Fashion and Physique" with panels and discussions surrounding body diversity and inclusive design.
Designers Christian Soriano and Chromat's Becca McCharen-Tran sat down with Kim Jenkins, a professor and lecturer at both Parsons and Pratt Institute, to talk about their progressive runway shows and plus-size offerings. McCharen-Tran also shared the news that Nordstrom placed a big order for her "future-forward body wear" in sizes that range up to 3X.
"We've been very wholesale-based in the past, which means the people who place orders with us, like Barneys and Revolve, that's what we go into production with because we're small," she explained. "No one has ever bought above a size large for us. Barneys has never bought above a size large, so we were producing extra sizes on our own." She went on to say that Nordstrom's order is "game-changing" and that "we finally have a major player that's supporting us in these larger sizes."
Since 2010, Chromat has been creating empowering swimwear and garments for all types of bodies, which McCharen-Tran says is a "huge, big, unattainable goal because, as you know, all bodies are unique." But her brand's mission is what has put her on the map in the fashion industry in the first place, garnering a runner-up spot for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2017 and becoming one of the most anticipated runway shows at New York Fashion Week.
At FIT's symposium, McCharen-Tran also pushed for universal sizing standards. "Hopefully that's where retail is heading, to be honest," she said. "So that everyone can know based on their measurements what size they are anywhere. I think the way the CFDA has organized fashion week into a organized procession, that could be a really cool project for the CFDA to take on."
While Siriano hopes that the segregation of plus-size clothing in the retail space will diminish, he did bring up the challenges behind universal sizing in regards to fabrication. "A beaded mesh dress is going to fit totally different than a tailored silk wool suit, so that is the challenge there for someone in our world where we do everything from suiting to cocktail to evening gowns," he said. "They all fit differently — not just because of this idea of size, so that is something to think about."