Parties are always best when you are partying for a reason like that Prince song, 1999. Since we opened our HUB in PDX the question on every one's collective mind is: "When is the party?" They expected it. No, they yearned for it. Chrome coming to a bike mecca such as Portland was kind of a big deal and with big deals come big celebrations. Continue reading
We're excited to announce the latest addition to the Chrome Familia, MASSAN.
Massan rides bikes. He's fearless on the track bike and his videos leave no words to be spoken. He has the skill of a marksman and the resolve of a suicide bomber. Originally from the Bay Area, he now lives in Brooklyn NY. Massan joins Chrome Familia members John Cardiel, Ed "Wonka" LaForte, John Igei, Bobby Worrest, Emmanuel Guzman and Kevin "Squid" Bolger.
Chrome Familia for life.
Massan is in the track bike portion of Redbull Ride And Style this weekend.
We caught up with SF-based artist, Pop’s Bar manager and all-around good guy, LiL Tuffy, for the launch of his new Artist Series Bags.
Check out his New Limited Edition screen-printed messenger bags, inspired by three of our favorite bike towns – Portland, Austin & Minneapolis. Only 200 made of each. Available now. And, like our Artist Series Tees, once they're gone – they're gone.
You call San Francisco home. How did a kid from Michigan end up here and why did you stay?
My dad's job moved us around a lot when I was growing up -- Los Angeles, Chicago and Cincinnati. I went to college in Pittsburgh and landed a job with a dotcom. I was managing a lot of west coast clients and started traveling to SF. One of my trips coincided with Noise Pop Festival and I quickly realized that the music and art scene here was what I had been looking for. Everything about San Francisco appealed to me… except the cost. But you can't have everything, right?
You’re known worldwide for your poster art, having worked with bands like Pavement & the Black Lips, & being involved in SXSW, Fun Fun Fun Fest, & Noise Pop. How did you start making art for music?
It took me awhile to figure out where I fit in the music world. I was a crap guitarist and an okay singer but never managed to make a band thing work. I started an indie label in the nineties and released a couple of singles and CDs but was horrible at the business side of things. I just wanted to design record covers. Probably not the best reason to start a label. For years, my day job supported my music habit and when I quit my day job I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I hated doing web design and the one time job I got in the music industry was working on ringtone downloads pages for Eric Clapton and Josh Groban. It was like a cruel joke!
I left the tech industry and didn't really know what to do with myself. I started booking some shows and eventually ended up at an up and coming venue called Thee Parkside. I had been collecting posters from artists like Art Chantry, Firehouse and Coop for years and thought it would be cool to make a poster for my birthday party show -- some little known band from Akron, Ohio was playing - The Black Keys!
That poster got me a few jobs with another local venue (Bottom of the Hill) and some other bands. I started working at the Firehouse and, slowly, this hobby became a career and I guess I kinda just fell into what I always wanted to do by accident.
You design and make all your work here in SF. We respect that! What do you like about making stuff in SF?
My friends are what make San Francisco the best. They are constantly volunteering to help me print or run my table at festivals. It's awesome to have someone to drink a beer with when I'm in the middle of huge print run and then bike down to the ball park or bar crawl home. San Francisco presents so many opportunities and distractions and I'm lucky to have friends that help with both!
Each bag was inspired by a different bike-oriented city. Where did the ideas come from for each of the bags?
Minneapolis Bag - This design was inspired by the American folklore figure Paul Bunyon and his companion, Babe the Blue Ox. Legend has it that Minnesota's 10,000 lakes were formed by the pair's footprints as they wandered blindly in a snow storm.
Austin - I travel to Austin at least twice a year for SXSW and Fun Fun Fun Fest. Even at my boarding gate in San Francisco, there's always a guitar case or two -- they're ever-present in Austin and have become like the Samurai sword of Central Texas.
Portland - Portland has become my home away from home over the past decade. I chanced upon the Chapman Swifts by accident and it was a pretty cool site to behold and I think the community's efforts to maintain the chimney for the Swifts embodies the Portland spirit.
Out of the three bags in the new series, do you have a favorite?
I think the Portland bag is my favorite. The moment that inspired it was important and personal.
What can we expect to see from you in the future? Any big projects to keep an eye out for?
I'm currently working on another project for Chrome -- that should be out in another month or so. I'm about to head to the UK and Europe for some shows and then hit the summer festivals here -- Bonnaroo, Pitchfork and Outside Lands.
Check out Lil Tuffy's brand-new Artist Series Bags. Only 200 made of each!
CHROME ACTIVATES CUSTOM MILITARY SALVAGE PROGRAM FOR VETERANS DAY
Since 1995, Chrome has made bags from reclaimed or salvage materials. When we started making our iconic messenger bag with salvage military duffels and tents the response was amazing, particularly from US Military Personnel who wanted us to make bags using their personal duffels and fatigues. These items carry significant meaning, but can’t be used frequently in civilian life.
Last year US Army Vehicle Commander Jared Morford of Watertown, South Dakota reached out to Chrome to make a Chrome Customs Salvage bag with the duffel he carried to Iraq. Chrome’s Customs Military Salvage Citizen was born.
The Chrome Customs Military Salvage Program invites Veterans and military families to bring their military duffels or fatigues to one of Chrome’s four HUB locations in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Portland. Chrome bag makers will use this material to create a Chrome Custom Citizen Messenger bag.
This program is extremely successful. People have shared their stories with us and we are moved. It reminds us how fortunate we are and how bags carry memories and meaning. One story affected us so much we made a short film:
You know it’s March in Austin when even the bike shops have bands in them. For the second year in a row, Chrome Industries was stoked to partner with Mellow Johnny’s and bring a killer pop up experience to the chaos that is SXSW. For two weeks, MJ’s was transformed into a one-stop Chrome destination featuring our new bags, boots, shoes and apparel. In addition, the venerable Seattle radio station KXEP was broadcasting live in-store concerts all day. Where else but Austin could you catch Billy Bragg before noon while checking out a full line of urban utility gear? Or Iron and Wine while trying on a pair of waterproof riding sneakers?
Chrome extends tons of love to the Mellow Johnny’s crew for another great year. It’s always an amazing opportunity to be able to pull off a partnership popup shop of this magnitude, especially during a time when Austin is briefly the capital of the Western world! We had a great time in Texas- and if you missed us, we’ll see you next year!
Check out our new Chrome Pop-Up-Shop at Mellow Johnny’s bike shop in Austin, TX. A collaboration with our friends at MJs, the Chrome Pop-Up is open for SXSW and located near the heart of the festival downtown. It’s fully stocked with roll top packs, messenger bags, Artist Tees and our newly launched Cardiel Travel System. Chrome’s SF HUB Manager, Paul Wilson, arrived in Austin and with the help of the MJ team built the space in just over 2 days using mostly found, borrowed or recycled materials (the boy can work black pipe and pallets!). The Pop-Up opened on March 10th and will stay open through March 18th.
This is the 2012 Coveted Jersey from Chrome. It was designed by James Selman and his crew at weights&pulleys in Portland, Oregon. It cannot be purchased. It is not given away freely. It must be earned. The Coveted Jersey was created in 2010 to recognize the dirtbags, fools and legit athletes who race alleycats, sprints and single speed races around the globe. Past winners include Austin Horse, Alonso Tal and Shawn Martin. Guys who know how to ride bikes.
This year we’ve worked with race organizers from San Francisco to LA to Tokyo to London to find some of the best street races in the world. 2012 Jerseys have already been sent out to Edgar “Willo” Juarez (Long Beach) who won the Fixed Gear LA Marathon Crash, Addison Zawada winner of the Redbull Ride and Style track race and several other winners. Upcoming races include the Melbourne Roubaix, NACCC and Where’s Waldo III. If you want a Coveted Jersey, check the list and win a race.
The 2012 Coveted Jersey was designed by James Selman and his crew at weights&pulleys in Portland, Oregon. James also owns Beloved Cycles and has been instrumental in developing Mellow Johnny's along with a few other things in and around the cycling industry. He goes for his 10th Leadville 100 in August.
This month, we're rolling out with a three-part series, "Meet the Makers," profiling our in-house sewing personalities at Chrome NYC, SF, & CHICAGO. Check back each week to read about the Maker closest to you.We begin with the mastermind behind Chrome NYC's Custom Bag program, Briana Thomas.Tell us about the city in which you live & why it’s the best.I live in NYC. Originally, I wrote about a page then decided no one would read all that, so I edited it down: 24 hour bodegas.You could probably be knee-deep with other design gigs, considering your skillset. What drew you to Chrome, in particular?My background is in fashion design and something I couldn’t stand about the industry was the self-importance and overall crazy egos. Chrome is the total opposite of that. Plus, it’s upfront about where and how it’s products are made which I find really refreshing.There might be those unfamiliar with our Custom Bag program. Care to explain it?Simply and quickly you can choose every color of every panel of our small or medium messenger bags. Buckle color, velcro color, tape, the possibilities are basically endless - come talk to me!What makes a Chrome bag so tough? What’s the secret?Well, for starters: material. Super strong, resilient fabric, hardware, even tough nylon-coated thread. And love, of courseFixed or freewheel?Freewheel. I’ve had a heavy, clunky, old Schwinn Crusier for forever. What can I say? I love coasting.Encountered any ridiculous Custom Bag requests in your time? Anything you’ve ever taken someone up on?Dog bags. People really, really, want bags they can put their animals in...maybe on a really slow day...I don’t want the death of anyone’s poodle on my hands...You offer an assortment of patches as a final touch to someone’s custom bag, if they so desire. Which ones are the most popular?I got my hands on some vintage skateboarding patches, those were cool and went really fast. I liked those.Best place to see a show in NYC?The best place to see a show WAS Market Hotel but they got closed down, so I’ll go with Death by Audio.Favorite bar? Best Jukebox?Even though I won’t go on weekends now, The Levee is still a favorite. Free candy, free cheeseballs, and cheap drinks will always bring me out there. (Gatorita!)Any final remarks?Just a thanks to all the awesome customers who come by to hangout! And those who bring us treats like cookies and fresh baked bread! And a shout out to all my buddies: Jason, Kris, Tijon and Dana who I get to spend so much time at work with, I LOVE YOU GUYS!