Beyond the Beach – Chromat’s SS20 Velvet Swimwear

by Eliza Lahey

Chromat’s Spring/Summer 2020 lookbook, for their collection SS20: Ten, is more than simply a preview of another season’s styles. The release of this collection marks the brand’s 10 year anniversary. It’s a birthday party, and Chromat is ready to celebrate!

As part of their celebration of the past decade, SS20: Ten incorporates hints at their past designs while also focussing on their future. In this collection, you’ll find the bright colours and fun cut-outs we’ve come to expect from Chromat, alongside new twists on old creations, and some altogether brand-new designs.

The future is velvet! One of the most noteworthy aspects of Chromat’s newest collection is the inclusion of high-quality, lush velvet fabrics. Velvet is a new look for Chromat, who stuck to spandex-like nylon in previous seasons.

Compared to earlier collections, SS20: Ten looks more luxurious and less like swimwear. However, though these pieces look more lingerie-like, you don’t have to worry about getting them wet; everything in this collection still functions as a swimsuit, with the fabric is designed to dry quickly and maintain its shape.

This collection is made up of bright colors, including ones reminiscent of sapphire, ruby, and rose quartz. Even their black styles, like the Pentagram Suit in Black, feature a sheen that resembles onyx. And it’s no coincidence that these pieces look gemstone-inspired: Chromat goes a step further by paying homage to the gemstone theme in the naming of their Quartz Suit.

I love Chromat’s decision to feature such deep, rich colours this season. This colour scheme adds elements of indulgence and luxury to the collection, especially when paired with velvet fabric.

I’ve come to expect unique cut-outs and shapes from Chromat, and SS20 does not disappoint. At a time when strappy lingerie and cut-outs are trending, you can count on Chromat to live up to these trends while thinking outside the box.

I always look forward to seeing which unique shapes and styles Chromat has decided to incorporate into their new releases. You’ll find original, distinctive cut-outs on pieces such as the Quartz Suit and Tidal II Suit. Meanwhile, the Strata Bodysuit and Uniform Top play with fun, quirky shapes in their designs.

One of my favourites of SS20 is the Highline Suit in Blue Velvet. With black mesh and glamorous blue velvet, this bodysuit can easily be dressed up for a night out, dressed down for edgy daywear, or taken for a swim.

That piece also features a trend I’ve noticed emerging recently: corsetry-inspired cages. This idea is seen throughout the SS20 lookbook, from the Steel Skirt to the Supernova Cage Skirt and Hip Cage. Other styles, such as the Pentagram Suit, feature a strappy design that is similar to this corsetry-inspired look, but made flexible with elastic.

One of the most notable – and commendable – things about Chromat is their commitment to using diverse models. Throughout the lookbook images, taken from their catwalk show, you’ll see models of a wide range of races, sizes, and gender identities. There’s even a pregnant model rocking the Velvet Pentagram Suit!

On their website, Chromat states that their goal is to empower people of all body types: “We hope that everytime you wear Chromat, it reinforces the message that there are many different versions of beautiful and that every body is worthy of love, acceptance and empowering swimwear”. The brand doesn’t just pay lip service to inclusivity, they actively make hiring and manufaturing decisions to reflect their values. The sizes in the SS20 collection run mostly from XS to 2XL, with some of the styles going up to a size 4X.

“Looking forward, we celebrate the next generation of #ChromatBABES being raised in a new era centering sustainability and inclusion.” – Chromat

As always, this collection also incorporates the ethics that Chromat is known for. Designed in the United States and created in Bulgaria, Chromat’s employees are given safe work environments and fair wages. The brand cares about sustainability, too.

And although these velvet pieces are not made recycled fabric, many other Chromat items are. Much of their swimwear is made from recycled nylon, spun from fishing nets and post-consumer plastic bottles that have been recovered from the ocean. It’s produced in a closed-loop system where they recycle their own fabrics and limit pollution. So next time you’re swimming off the coast in your Chromat design, remember your bathing suit may have already been rescued from the ocean!

What do you think of Chromat’s new collection? Could you see yourself wearing these pieces to the beach, or maybe even during a night out?

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