BEHIND THE DESIGN: CHROME'S FALL/WINTER 2021 COLLECTION
As one season ends, another begins. The end of summer signals temperatures cooling, the sun lazily rising, and the long nights ahead. The leaves are falling and we’re still moving. This fall / winter season we're gearing up for what's coming next - new designs, materials, and colors - oh my!
Our small - yet mighty - design team shared their thoughts on the new FW2021 Collection and what to anticipate this season - SPOILER! It’s going to be really GOOD.
What are you most excited about for the FW21 Collection?
Matt Sourapas, Head of Footwear Design: The relaunch of our SPD compatible Pro Series sneakers.
Stephen Willis, Product Designer: The team has worked on so many good pieces for the season from the new Tensile Collection to some great transitional weather apparel. But, as a bag guy I have to say I love the new Tensile Ruckpack. Developing the new recycled laminated material for Tensile allowed us to build a bag that took out a lot of weight while still being able to carry the everyday essentials plus some!
Rebecca Ward, Apparel Director: The versatility and mix of hybrid use and fabric combos. This collection is all based on what we want to wear as we enter a new mode of transport and get around by bike & e-bike. Comfort and performance are key. That's why we built our Surveyor Jacket and Surveyor Vest out of the best mix of natural warmth and lightweight weight style using merino wool and lightweight overlays to protect our core from the weather & wind. Another piece I’m super excited about is the Wind Cobra 2.0 Packable Jacket. This piece is an essential for year-round wear. It packs into a tiny pouch that you can throw in your pack, handlebar bag, or even stow it under your seat. The shell is ultra light and is the perfect choice to pull out during that unexpected shower or use as the main shell as a performance piece for when you hit the trail or road for an adventure.
Any cool new features to lookout for?
MS: We’ve redesigned our entire FW21 Footwear range from the ground up. Be on the lookout for new styles, new colors and a very special outsole collaboration with Panaracer.
SW: We really worked on taking a look back at the line and seeing where the missing pieces were. From building on existing styles with new silhouettes (Barrage family, Warsaw MD), to making the new 1.5” Chrome Buckle on the Tensile Collection. I’m hoping people reimagine where their bag takes them.
RW: There are loads of features to look for. This season we took a step back to look at the overall collection and make sure that every piece is meaningful. With an eye on sustainability, we don’t want to just make more stuff. We listened to our consumers and have used the last 18 months to look at how people are getting out. What matters? Utility, versatility, durability and stuff that will work for many different uses. Riding, trail or gravel adventures, overlanding, working in studio or home, and simple timeless style.
This season specifically, we focused on a couple things:
1. Hybrid light weight weather performance (Surveyor series - Jacket, Vest, Pant)
2. Reflectivity. We have an awesome reflective kit - the Wind Cobra 2.0 Reflective Jacket, the 5 Panel Hat and all of our bottoms feature reflective labels, patches and hem tape at the side seam so you can roll up the cuff and ride at night.
3. Versatility & reversibility. The Filled Reversible Shacket is perfect. 2 colors in 1 - reverse it from black to classic olive green. Not only does the color change, but each side has a different pocket configuration. Side 1 is hand pockets, side 2 is chest pockets with a tool slip. It’s also filled with a light weight 70 gm fill that makes it super comfy for cool weather and it packs into the corner of your pack with ease!
Most challenging piece you worked on this season?
MS: Our signature outsole compound developed with the legendary bike tire manufacturer, Panaracer. We spent months in development and testing to make sure we got it right. The result is an outsole that is incredibly grippy, durable and ideal for life on & off the bike.
SW: Building great products is like a road - one minute it looks like you know where it ends, and other times it’s like not seeing below you at the top of the steepest hill. There are challenges along each step of the way, but I feel collectively we came up with a great way to keep the Barrage Duffle expandable - while also maintaining the waterproof bucket. The top closure can be expanded, cinched down to compress the load, or used as a shoulder strap. “Less is more” really worked here.
RW: It wasn’t a particular piece that was a challenge as much as how to do what we did from a distance. Apparel is very different from bags. The team makes patterns and fit based on every fabric, performance need, range of motion and sets a standard of fit that requires us to fit on a person. We also need to see the finest details on-body which means we had to get really creative with how we did it during lockdown. Apparel must go on a body, on different bodies and every decision we make means we have to test it again on lots of sizes and people. The team rallied to pass product back and forth, fit and comment via calls, videos, virtual meetings, photos, sketches, mock ups and more ways to ensure we were as connected to the outcome as ever - if not more.
Do you have any cool plans coming up that you’ll be using your FW21 gear for?
MS: With most travel plans still on hold, I’ll be taking a ton of nearby road trips. Chrome bags, apparel, footwear and accessories will be staples in my travel kit.
SW: They call it shoulder season, and I think that’s a perfect start of how I’m planning on using some of our new gear. The new Surveyor’s Vest will be great on cold morning starts while the Barrage Duffle will see some gravel/camping trips as my go to easy gear hauler for clothes, shoes, helmet, tools… and snacks.
Anything you can tell us about upcoming Chrome stuff? What should we be looking forward to?
MS: For Spring 2022 we’ll be releasing a new footwear style that is unlike anything we’ve ever done before. Hint: It was designed with the town-to-trail experience in mind.
SW: I would talk about camo, but I don’t think you’ll see it coming. Or will you?
RW: Be on the lookout for thoughtful, useful, high quality, and versatile product. This season starts the exploration of building great individual pieces that add to your existing closet. But, more so, building the styles that do more, with consideration for recycled synthetics, natural technology (like Sea-wool), and styles that are season-less and items that work better together. It's a tight group of product with the concept, if you only wore the styles from this season, you’d be set for a long time. My goal is to make less better and do more with less!
Check out the rest of our Fall/Winter 2021 Collection