CHROME HUBS are more than places to get the newest Chrome products. You can build a custom bag at our Chrome Custom Sewing Station, discover new music after hours at our Third Thursdays, watch bike and skate videos, check out our exclusive screenings, start (or end) an alley cat or just stop in to find out where to get the best burrito in town. CHROME HUBS reflect our commitment to living in the city. Come in, hang out, talk shop with the crew and buy something if you feel like it.


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

    caroline2 NAME: Caroline Borucki
    BIRTHPLACE: Hinsdale, Illinois
    BIKE: Biria Citibike step-through in olive; her name is Laverne.
    DAY JOB: Chrome Chicago bag maker/seamstress
    SIDE PROJECT: My apparel & craft brand, self titled 'caroline borucki'
    5 SONGS ON YOUR PLAYLIST AT RANDOM:
    Lil' Red Riding Hood - Sam the Sham & the Pharaoh
    Can't Hardly Wait - the Replacements
    Age of Consent - New Order
    Glass Figurine - Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire
    Yekermo Sew - Mulatu Astatke

    Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get started making things?
    I was an avid thrift store shopper in high-school, so eventually I decided to alter clothing to my liking. After getting a good response from classmates, I decided to study apparel design in college.

    What was your first sewing project?
    I was captivated by fabrics with rad prints, so the fit and sizing of thrift items didn't impact my purchase. I know my first projects revolved around transforming long skirts into bubble skirts, and muumuu's into fitted dresses.

    You’ve been making custom Chrome bags in Chicago for a long time, can you tell us about some of the favorite bags you’ve made?
    My favorite bags have most definitely been the holiday bags I've done. I draft/cut out special patches that have resembled a reindeer, snowman, color string-lights, Frankenstein and jack-o-lanterns. The time it takes to create them is well worth it when it comes to Chrome Chicago visitors commenting on them. I get really excited about the holidays, so I'm pretty into perking everyone else up about them too.

    caroline1Have you encountered any odd #ChromeCustoms bag requests? Has there ever been anything really crazy?
    My favorite requests are from dedicated fans; I've done a few bags inspired by Zelda and sports teams. I assist with choosing the right color scheme and patch placement to make the bag perfect. From the day I began I have been asked by a multitude of people about firearm and rifle scope bags/accessory attachments. I give my input on how to go about it, but still waiting to see images of their final results.

    If you could have one stock Chrome bag which would you choose?
    My favorite bag is my Metropolis, but if we are talking about a bag I've been eying I would say the Sotnik. WHY? Only because I like wearing/using bags that I can fit into. Plus they are great in packing all my merchandise to events & fashion shows.

    Besides making custom bags at the Chrome HUB in Chicago, you also have your own line clothing, cards and frills, how do you create balance in your life?
    It's pretty tough, I'm lucky if I remember to eat throughout the day. I try to map out a weekly schedule of to-do lists, while making a habit of waking up at 6am to go to my workspace before Chrome. Never skipping my morning bagel & cream cheese is most important.

    Your clothing line takes inspiration from nature’s seamy underbelly – a decaying peach, intertidal sealife – what qualities inspire you? What is your process of getting inspired?
    I'm inspired by botany, mostly rooted in mycology and plants. The textures and colors associated within these topics is extremely inspiring for me, and I love to use new techniques to mimic the appearances. I try to classify each collection with a specific biological taxonomy, the goal is to learn as much as I can about science along the way of creating collections each season.

    caroline3
    Your clothes are very sculptural, how did your education as a sculptor effect your design decisions?
    After getting experience in sculpture I realized how similar it could be translated into fashion. While in college I did a lot more sculptural fashion pieces, but when trying to branch into the industry I've had to tone down my ideas for wearability. I appreciate the one-of-a-kind mentality for art, so everything I produce is hand-crafted to be different. I've branched into a lot of 'craft' because having a variety of outlets allows for me to continually develop new skills.

    You got started out in fashion, what drew you to work at Chrome?
    Having life-time warranty products is a pretty rare occurrence, so knowing Chrome had such high standards for their products made me really want to be part of the team. I have always been a 'bag-lady,' carrying around a bunch of cheaply-made thrift-found luggage bags while making daily commutes. It wasn't until I made my own first Chrome bag that I realized I didn't need to invest in a new bag every couple months.

    Can we pick your brain a bit about Chicago? What’s your favorite thing about living in the Windy City?
    I've been in the Chicagoland area my entire life, so for me walking down the street and running into people I know on a regular basis is probably my favorite part. Witnessing Chicago's crazy weather is always exciting. Plus the food out here is fabulous!

    If you some have time off, but only enough for a bike ride where do you go?
    I ride around the forest preserve, specifically the Salt Creek Trail. I've been riding that trail since my brother led the way when I was in elementary school. Plus, hanging out with deer in the forest is one of my favorite things to do when I have the time.

    What's the best music venue in Chicago?
    It's not exactly a venue, but my favorite Chicago performance was at the Fourth Presbyterian church downtown. I saw Andrew Bird's holiday show there in 2009, and it was simply fantastic.

    Besides having fun at Third Thursdays, do you have a favorite bar?
    Hopleaf, it has the most amazing selection of Belgian beers, as well as delicious grub.

  • Wrenched Nation Tour | Fifth Stop: Chicago

    caponeSure, sure.... everyone knows that Al Capone lived in and ran Chicago, but not everyone knows I did too.

    Before I lived in Portland, I used to wrench at the Kozy's on Halsted where I was the captain of our super sweet gang the Broke Bike Saints. You could take that a couple of ways, 1. your bike was broken and we were the saints who would fix it or 2. we were bike saints who were broke because we were mechanics and didn't make a lot of money. Either way, we were rad. Chicago is exactly the way I left it, a large city, and we went straight to work getting things ready for that night's event. The guys at the Bike Lane were celebrating their third consecutive year of being nominated Chicago's #1 bike shop so we got the parking lot across from the Congress Theater to throw a party. Get ready for a bunch of fuzzy pictures.
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  • Custom Military Salvage Program in Chrome HUBs

    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.

    military salvage citizen

    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:

    Chrome Customs Military Salvage Program from Chrome Industries on Vimeo.