New York-based swim and athletic brand Chromat has launched its new Pool Rules campaign celebrating women with disabilities, stretch marks and scars, cellulite, body hair, different ages and people in the LGBTQ community.
The campaign features five inspirational ‘Chromat Babes’ including stunning amputee and beauty blogger, Mama Cax, 28, queer activist Ericka Hart, 32, transgender advocate and model Geena Rocero, 34 and plus-size models Emme, 55, and Denise Bidot, 32.
In an essay for Teen Vogue, Denise, who is also a body positive advocate, wrote on her experience working with Chromat and the need for the fashion industry to be more inclusive when it comes to swimwear.
Beautiful: Chromat debuted its Pool Rules campaign, which features (From L-R) Denise Bidot, Mama Cax, Geena Rocero, Ericka Hart and Emme
Posing poolside: Mama Cax (left), who had to have her leg amputated after she was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer, poses with Ericka (right), who had a double mastectomy in 2014
Stunning: Emme is the oldest of the models at 55 but she wasn’t afraid to show off her amazing body
Survivor: At the age of 14, Mama Cax was diagnosed with cancer but she hasn’t let that stop her from showing off her body in Chromat’s campaign
‘The question I hear most from young fashion enthusiasts is “How can I be that confident,” she said. And the reality is it takes baby steps. But we can only do so much on our own; we all need support from outsiders. That’s where the fashion industry comes in.’
‘Brands like Chromat are creating swimwear styles that make people from all walks of life – curvy, disabled, queer, non-binary – feel confident while they bask in the summer sun.’
Denise realizes that there are plenty of women who are size two that still struggle with self-esteem but she noted that since she becoming one of the founding pioneers of the body positivity movement, she has seen more people embracing their bodies.
‘I’ve seen more and more people embracing who they are by stepping out confidently and wearing swimwear that celebrates their frame rather than concealing it,’ she said.
Flaunt it: Ericka showed off her body and underarm hair during a photoshoot for the New York-based swim brand
Inspiration: The models posed together and gave fierce looks for the camera during the shoot at Astoria Park Pool in New York
Variety: Chromat showed that their are many types of bodies that come in different shapes, sizes and ages and that there’s nothing wrong with stretch marks or scars
Together: Ericka and Geena posed with one another for one of the pictures taken during the shoot, with Ericka proudly displaying her stretch marks
She added: ‘There’s been a shift in the zeitgeist when it comes to body positivity. People are approaching swimsuit season with renewed confidence.’
Part of that stems from having brands that support all different types of bodies such as Chromat, which is, according to Denise, one of the first and most consistent brands to drive these values home through design.
And since modeling for Chromat last week at Astoria Park Pool for its ‘groundbreaking’ swim campaign, she said she has realized the need for the fashion industry to do more in order to encourage this way of thinking.
‘There was a time, not too long ago, when we were seeing curvy girls on almost every New York Fashion Week runway; that is no longer the case,’ Denise said.
Blue babes: Denise worked her body for the camera and Ericka proudly displayed her scars while both showed off swimsuits from Chromat
Working it: Denise wasn’t afraid for people to see her cellulite while she posed poolside
All smiles: Denis flashed a smile (and her thighs) during the photoshoot for Chromat
Yum: Geena, a transgender model and activist, chowed down on some Cheetos by the pool while she flaunted her figure
Having fun: Emme splashed around and showed off her flawless skin in the photos for Chromat
‘Women of all sizes exist and we are not a trend or a marketing strategy. The fashion industry needs an enduring commitment to this notion of inclusivity.’
And to do that, Chromat implemented a list of ten ‘Pool Rules,’ some of which include intolerance not accepted, no age restrictions, all body hair appreciated and food-shaming not permitted.
The last rule was especially meaningful to Denise who said she felt ‘free’ as she and her fellow models flaunted their natural bodies for the camera.
‘My fellow models and I all felt free, like we were a part of something that will not only be seen but also heard: there’s a voice behind these images,’ she said.
Posing poolside, the five fierce women can be seen smiling for the camera and showing off their amazing bodies, with some of the images taken as solo shots and others showing them modeling together and chowing down on a bag of Cheetos.
For Mama Cax, who had to have her right leg amputated after she was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer, it was also a freeing experience to participate in the photoshoot because she revealed on the Chromat website that ‘it felt liberating, to see every women looking comfortable and happy and sexy’.
Gorgeous: Denise and Geena posed for the swim brand with Geena blowing a lifeguard whistle for one of the shots
Fun in the sun: Denise shared that she hoped more brands would follow suit and celebrate different types of bodies after Chromat’s campaign
Pretty: Geena showed her fabulous figure in a series of photos shot for the Pool Rules campaign
Ericka, however, who had to have a double mastectomy in 2014 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, felt intimidated to be working modeling for the brand but luckily, she said that it made it her feel welcome on set along with other members of the Chromat family.
‘The other models, crew, makeup artist, photographers, videographers are always so welcoming and kind,’ she said. ‘I have been on shoots where the only person that said hello was the photographer. Chromat is unfortunately/fortunately unique, and I’m grateful to be taken care of and elevated when on set with them.’
And Emme was just glad for the opportunity and sharing it with four other fierc women made it that much more special.
‘I really had such a good time, sharing the #ChromatBABE moment with these amazing women who bring-it everyday in all they do,’ she said.
‘Being a #ChromatBabe is saying “yes” to challenges, stepping out and being a bad a*s even when all senses tell you not to, and owning exactly who you are in any given moment.’
And of the experience, Geena said it was ’empowering’ and shooting with the other women made her feel appreciated and celebrated for who she is.
Liberated: Mama Cax said it was a freeing experience to participate in the photoshoot
Team effort: Geena had similar experience to Mama Cax and said it was ’empowering’ and shooting with other women made her feel appreciated
Free to be you: Geena floated in the pool with ‘no judgement’ written nearby
List to live by: Chromat implemented a list of ten ‘Pool Rules,’ some of which include intolerance not accepted and no age restrictions
‘It was an empowering day being on set,’ she said. ‘Shooting with other Chromat Babeguards made me feel appreciated, celebrated and affirmed.
‘Campaigns, specifically fashion campaigns should be like this, it’s intersectional and each one of us brings a perspective and dynamic voices in the way we engage in the world, while wearing our swimsuits.’
And Denise had the same reaction and said that every time she does a Chromat shoot, she leaves feeling ‘loved and supported’.
‘Every time I work with this forward-thinking, bada*s brand, I know I am contributing to a better tomorrow, a better future for the next generation,’ she wrote for Teen Vogue.
‘It’s my hope that more brands look to Chromat as their inspiration for change. And while we wait for other brands to come to their senses, I’ll be lounging poolside in my Chromat swimsuit, celebrating my cellulite, welcoming my scars and stretch marks and loving every inch of me – no matter what anyone else has to say about it.’