Chrome Industries

  • Chrome_20 Goes Live

    Streets of Chrome by Van Styles

    It’s going to be a good month. We’ve teamed up with the iconic bike shop Orange 20 to bring you a one-of-a-kind Chrome HUB in LA. We call it Chrome_20 and starting November 22nd it’s going to be a month-long party.

    Orange 20 is great, the staff kicks ass, and they have been influential in shaping the Los Angeles cycling culture. We’re more than stoked that they invited us into their space; we’re pumped to share some beers (many beers) with the Orange 20 crew over the next 4 weeks.

    Chrome_20 is more than just a spot to pick up some bombproof Chrome gear…

    First off, we’re hosting a month-long Streets of Chrome photography show. We’ve reached out to our friend Van Styles to curate an exhibition of Los Angeles street photography. Along with his own photoset, Van selected the work of Sagan Lockhart and Jefroe in the show. Van kills it behind the lens and has more Instagram followers than you; Sagan Lockhart is one of the creative geniuses affiliated with Odd Future; Jefroe is the creative director of At Large Media in LA. This show is uniquely Los Angeles and we’re humbled to be showing this work.

    Chrome_20 is also home to #Wrenched_LA our interactive Instagram wall featuring favorite local spots. The first interactive edition of our Wrenched city guide, #Wrenched_LA is powered by the people. Chrome_20 features a wall-sized map of LA. Whenever a photo is posted to Instagram with the hashtag #Wrenched_LA, we’re going to print the photo and post it on the map. Next time you’re at a rad spot in LA take a photo and tag it #Wrenched_LA. Favorite dive bar: #Wrenched_LA, killer burrito: #Wrenched_LA, amazing coffee: #Wrenched_LA, best place to watch the sunset: #Wrenched_LA. You get it. We’re asking you to show us your city. At the end of this thing we’ll have a wall documenting the best places in LA. It’s going to be awesome.

    Each week you’ll have a chance to win a 2013 Chrome Coveted Jersey. Starting with an alleycat on 11/22 at 7pm, a fixed gear cross race on 11/29 at 7pm, and an uphill sprint race on 12/7 at 1pm. This will be your last chance to get a 2013 Chrome Coveted Jersey - don’t miss out. We’ll get you more information about the ongoing events but for now: the party starts November 22nd at 7pm – 10pm. We’ll have a DJ and beer from New Belgium Brewing (thanks!), you can check out the photographs, and its your first chance to score a Coveted Jersey.

    The address is:
    4357 Melrose St.
    Los Angles, CA 90029

    We’ll be there:
    Mon.-Sat. 11am - 7pm
    Sunday 11am - 5:30pm

  • Chrome_20: A Pop-Up HUB

    We're partnered with Orange 20, to open a Pop-Up in LA for the holidays. Here's a schedule of events at Chrome_20.

  • Warsaw II: An Iconic Messenger Pack Returns

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    We built the first Warsaw—our iconic professional-grade messenger backpack—way back in 2003. The bag was designed to take shoulder-strap bags to the next level by offering messengers the ability to carry bigger loads with improved ergonomics. Messengers were stoked on the Warsaw, relying on it for everything; they earned a living, won races, and traveled across continents with their bag.

    This year we decided it was time to remake the Warsaw. As much as bike messengering looks the same, a lot of things have changed since Billy Souphorse and the Godspeed crew got the first 10 Warsaw bags we made. When we made the Warsaw the focus had been shifting from delivering small items and mail, to larger documents and file boxes. Now the focus is shifting to meal delivery. Because the business of delivery is changing, we want the Warsaw II to be able to adapt.

    We sat down with friends, employees, and messengers to remake the Warsaw. We added to our collective experience with veteran riders like Billy Souphorse and Squid Bolger. The Warsaw II is still based on the original, so it’s large enough to carry a file box. Even though the Warsaw II is deeper, it’s slim enough to split traffic. We removed the yoke—separating the shoulder straps helps to improve load carrying, stability, and comfort. The Warsaw II’s strap retention system keeps excess straps out of the way until you need to expand the bag. We simplified the organization to make it easier to find small stuff. We also added a tool pocket to the bottom of the bag, now tools are quick to find—and accessible separately—without digging through your cargo. The side pocket is there so give you quick access to mail and FedEx envelopes. We moved the ID holder so that the flap prevents rain from soaking it. Finally the stash pocket, it’s still there.

    After multiple prototypes, we had a design which Squid, and crews across the country carried and worked with. After months of testing, the final version of the Warsaw II was approved. So after all the revisions, all the stories, and the decades of shared experience from riders and messengers, we’re ready to introduce the Warsaw II; a bag of epic capabilities for professional messengers.

    Warsaw2_Hero

  • Wrenched Nation Tour | Thirteenth Stop: Los Angeles

    We're gonna ride it 'til we just can't ride it no more
    From the South Bay to the Valley
    From the West Side to the East Side
    Everybody's very happy
    'Cause the sun is shining all the time
    Looks like another perfect day
    I love L.A. (we love it) -Randy Newman

    LAbeach

    Coming with on this trip to LA with me was my fellow Chromies, Eddie, Veronika, Other Eddie, and their pup. Veronika won the Chrome Coveted Jersey in the fixed category at the 1st race of the Wolfpack Hustle Unified Title Series, the Marathon Crash. We brought her down there for the first race of the series and was carting her back on down to southern California for the third and final race, the 6th St. Drag. Continue reading

  • Still Scraping All the Sand Out... Chrome did Interbike.

    We’re home from the desert and after scraping all the sand out of our hair and running our soiled clothes through the wash a million times we just have to say: Vegas was a blast.

    Continue reading

  • Wrenched Nation Tour | Twelfth Stop: San Francisco

    "What a long strange trip it's been" -Grateful Dead

    hqzIs that cliche? Starting off my San Francisco write up with a Grateful Dead quote? Listen, I'm not a hippie or anything, but my trip has been long and it has been strange at times so I think it applies here. Continue reading

  • Meet the Maker: Chrome Portland's Bag Maker, Lara Kessler

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    NAME: Lara Kessler
    BIRTHPLACE: Outside Philadelphia, PA
    BIKES IN QUIVER:
    Track: Blue TR250
    Road: Veloforma F1R
    Commuter/ rain/ training: Giant OCR A1

    Continue reading

  • Interview with Andy Fucking Ellis: Fixed Gear Guru & Curator of #wrenched_london

    Andy in Berlin by Barnie Rap Andy in Berlin by Barnie Rap

     

    Visionary. Designer. Tool maker. Photographer. Founder of Fixed Magazine and Fixedgearlondon. Andy Ellis is a modern Renaissance man. That's why we were stoked to work with him on our latest edition of #Wrenched, a low brow city guide from people we look up to. #Wrenched_london is Andy's handy work. Hear what keeps the fire burning in Andy.

    You have just released Issue #15 of Fixed Magazine, what have you learned over the past five years of publishing the magazine? Have you made any truly epic mistakes that turned out to be great learning opportunities?
    When I started Fixed Mag, I had no idea how to publish a printed magazine. It has been a steep learning curve especially since I'm self taught. I guess the main thing I have learned over the years is "if you need something doing, do it yourself" Not everyone has the same passion and drive that I do for Fixed Gear. I try to make things happen without the need to hassle anyone else. I guess I'm hoping that the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams ethos comes true! (if you build it, they will come).
    I don't believe in mistakes. I'm trying to make / build a culture through the magazine. I'm not in this for the money, I'm in it because I'm passionate about riding Fixed! The magazine would still happen, even if It had to be printed on a sheet of used paper that's folded in half. I'm prepared for anything that happens concerning Fixed Mag so I don't believe mistakes can happen… does that make sense?

    Your magazine has a distinct look that has helped shape the fixed gear culture. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
    I just try to keep everything simple. We strive to have exclusive photographs that have not been all over the internet and we always have stories that are direct from the riders. I have always struggled with the over design of things, some things just do not need to be there! I like understated obscure design, I like the work that Marc Newson, Jonathan Ive and Dieter Rams have put out. The fixed gear bike is also an understated obscure object so it works for me.

    Andy in London by Jason Finn Andy in London by Jason Finn

     

    You’ve talked a lot about your love for the purity of fixed gear riding, but you come from a skating background. What initially drew you to fixed gear bikes?
    I was in my final year studying product design at St Martin's in 2003 and I rode to and from university everyday (about 10 miles per day) on a terrible mountain bike. This was mainly because they had just introduced ticket barriers at Charing Cross Train station and I could not afford to buy tickets to travel… the mountain bike was the only option I had left. Whilst riding the 40 minute journey to St Martin's I saw messengers and commuters riding these strange bikes that had no brakes or gears and they were traveling much faster than I was. I was interested in these bikes from a design perspective at first, because it seemed like the perfect balance of form and function. As soon as I got my 1st fixed gear bike, it confirmed to me that not only did these bikes look perfect, they also functioned perfectly. I was hooked. For me it's the brakeless aspect that gives you the same feeling as skateboarding, it keeps your wits about you and in turn makes you a safer rider. I skate often and I use my bike to get to and from the skate spots throughout the city, this way I get to skate and ride more places than most as the bike is the easiest way to get around in any city.

    You’ve collaborated with a lot of bike brands, from 14 Bike Co to Wolvh Clothing what was unique about working with Chrome?
    I have been following what Chrome has been doing for the last few years now. I first saw the Wrenched SF city guide when it came out and I was given a copy of the Wrenched NY whilst at Eurobike. These guides feature a lot of people I look up to and also friends of mine from skateboarding and the fixed gear scene. It was so sick to know where they recommend you go visit in their own city that it made me want to try and make the London version happen! I contacted Chrome (luckily they knew who I was ;) and they agreed to make it happen. The most unique thing about working with Chrome has been the fact that we have a similar ethos about the way we think things should be. This has made our working relationship an extremely awesome experience for me.

    Andy in Milano by Jason Sellers Andy in Milano by Jason Sellers

     

    What prompted you to make the Lockwhip tool?
    I was sick of carrying three heavy tools around with me! So I sketched a tool that had all of these tools in one. The thing I tried to do was make the lock whip tool reflect the form/function balance that is inherent in a fixed gear bike. Nothing over the top and everything you need to survive. I had a prototype made and carried it around with me for a few months, the first instance that I needed the tool (lockring came loose) I almost forgot that it was in the bottom of my bag! After I fixed the lockring and proved to myself that the lockwhip was discreet and effective, I knew I had to put it into production.

    In the process of curating #wrenched-london, what new discoveries did you make about your hometown?
    I discovered that most of the awesome people featured like a lot of the same things! Most of them have not met each other ever, so it's interesting to see that they frequent the same places. I went to the vast majority of the places detailed in #wrenched_london to photograph these places, doing this helped me discover some cool places. I'd never been to the Hunterian Museum before but because it had been mentioned a couple of times I decided to take a visit and it ended up being one of the places that I picked to go see. #Wrenched brings people together in many ways and I know that people that grab a copy will find some inspiration somewhere within the pages…

    Andy in London by Ty Francis Andy in London by Ty Francis

     

    If you could describe a quintessential London moment, what would it be?
    For me It would be riding in traffic on a typical damp drizzly London morning in heavy rush hour traffic, traveling from west to east on Clerkenwell Road. Commuters are trying to race you, I'll cut through some red lights to keep a steady pace and no taxi drivers will bother to shout at you because they don't want to get wet. The rain puts a dampener on most people, but not me! I've always said "It's never the wrong weather, always the wrong clothes."

    Andy in Berlin by Barnie Rap Andy in Berlin by Barnie Rap

     

    You have your fingers in a lot of pots, what do you do to find balance in your life?
    I choose the pots I want to put my fingers in! When I graduated from St Martin's I made a choice to work for myself, I never let the need for money dictate my life. It's always been my goal to do what I'm passionate about. I want to make a mark on the world in my lifetime, but I want it to be the best mark I can possibly leave. I recently got married and meeting my wife Kellen was the most awesome thing that ever happened to me! Meeting her made me want to be even better at everything and together we make a great team, we have lots planned for the future. I find balance from doing a little bit of everything all the time, designing stuff, making graphics, sketching, writing, photography, skateboarding, riding fixed, etc. If I chose to do one thing, I think I would get tired of it quite quickly…

    Is there any advice you would give to your younger self if you had a time machine and could go back ten years?
    Hmmm… I would not want to change a thing!

    Who has more bikes, you or your wife Kellen? How about tattoos?
    Haha! I have definitely have more bikes and Kellen definitely has more tattoos because I don't have any!

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  • City Series Berlin: Surface Designer Matt Manson

    Manson_2
    The first time we crossed paths with British illustrator and surface designer Matt Manson was while working on our City Series London installment. We partnered with Brooklyn’s Flavor Paper for the liner artwork and worked closely with Matt on the pattern development. For our Berlin City Series, we worked with Matt to develop a pattern mash up of Chrome’s take on Berlin.

    What exactly is Surface Design?
    As a surface designer my main role is to provide graphic/illustrative solutions to products and surrounding environments.  For example I am often asked to provide wallpapers, carpets and feature graphics for restaurants or hotels that fit in with the their branded identities.

    Can you tell us a little about your background and how you began your career?
    I was born and raised in Bristol, England. Bristol is a small but culturally rich city about 2 hours from London.  Growing up in Bristol in the late 80s and throughout the 90s I was exposed to the local music and graffiti scene.  Bristol is the original home to bands/producers such as Massive Attack, Portisthead, Roni Size and artists such as Banksy so I grew up around some of England's best counter-cultures from an early age.

    In my early 20s wanting to see more of England I relocated to London to study surface design at the University of Arts London. I quickly set up base in Brixton. Brixton was a part of London I was already familiar with as I was often visiting for the local party scene so it felt like a natural relocation.

    What are your influences?
    Originally my main influence and focus was graffiti, tagging and generic vandalism.

    Nowadays I also draw influence from underground comics, the arts and crafts movement of the 1860s and roots reggae.

    Do you have something that inspires your designs?
    Life, people, the past and the future it all inspires.

    What was it like interning at Flavor Paper and Nobrow?
    When I first started to studying I wanted to intern as much as possible.  I wanted to get the intern stuff under my belt quickly and start getting paid.

    Interning at Flavor Paper was amazing. I spent a summer living in Brooklyn, found a squat to live in.

    After moving back to London I hooked up with the Nobrow guys and spent the winter screenprinting.

    In the mean time I managed to get a student visa to get back to the States. I moved back to Brooklyn to work again at Flavor Paper for 6 months.

    You're currently living in Amsterdam, how did you end up there?
    I moved back to London and spent a year working as a freelancer. I managed to get a few projects in motion and kept growing my portfolio.  Then an opportunity to work at Marcel Wanders as a surface pattern designer came up.

    I relocated to Amsterdam 6 months ago...

    What was the inspiration behind the Berlin City Series? Tell us about that project.
    The inspiration was lederhosen, beer and Bavarian needlework.

    I looked to the city's cycle culture and squat scene for inspiration and got some mood boards together.  From then on  I had my references to base my work on and developed a few ideas.

    To see more of Matt's work, please check out his website.

  • Meet the Maker: Chrome Chicago's Bag Maker, Caroline Borucki

    caroline2

    Continue reading

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