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Chrome Goes Custom
New Bag Options, and More
by Jialin Luh on May 01, 2011
One of San Francisco’s iconic messenger bag companies, Chrome, has been quietly offering custom messenger bags since September. Recently the company unveiled new fabrics, colors, and fixings that are now available for the discerning bag collector.
For an extra $30, you can now personalize the Mini Metro (small size) or Citizen Buckle Bag (medium), but only by visiting the San Francisco store.
New fabric colors include Teal, Desert Camo, Sandstone (a taupe/khaki shade), Mint (Tiffany-ish blue), and more. Velcro options were expanded from black to include grey, khaki, and navy. Perhaps most exciting are the new glitter vinyls, repurposed from an old limited edition Schwinn bag collection. Think silver, blue, pink, green, and red glitter that you used to see on Schwinn handlebars.
Each custom bag is hand-made to order by Purveyor of Awesomeness (Custom/Bag Repair Guy) Michael Pablo, an FIDM/Academy of Art Alum whose past experience includes sewing and designing the goods for the Levi’s customization department. Uninterrupted, each bag takes Pablo about two-and-a-half hours to create.
In addition to the new colors and Schwinn vinyls, you can also add a vintage patch for $10: each handpicked by discriminating Chrome staff members. With the customization route you can also mix and match glossy chrome and matte black buckle parts. When the custom program launched due to customer demand in September you could only customize the Citizen bag (normal non-custom retail price $140).
But the option to customize bags is far from the only new offering Chrome has been dishing up. In the last year, the company has added several styles to its bag collection, stepped up its shoe game, and added a sock line. New bag styles include the Yalta ($120), considered by some to be the go-to “DJ bag” since it’s designed to fit records. The Brigadier ($140) converts from a backpack into a heavy-duty haul-able duffle; shoulder straps unclip and tuck neatly into the back panel when you’re ready to carry it wherever your travels take you.
Aptly dubbed “an office-friendly version of the Citizen” by a satisfied customer, the Buran ($140) has an integrated zippered laptop sleeve so you no longer need to have a separate sleeve to throw in a pocketless compartment if that’s more your steez.
The spacious Boris ($120) has a large U-zip compartment so you can unzip it to get to all your stuff instead of digging around blindly to get something out from the very bottom. It also holds a 30-pound bag of dog food, just in case you were wondering.
Replacing the Ranchero, the Falcon backpack ($140) has a lower profile so when you’re looking over your shoulder your view is unobstructed by your bag. Similar updates were made for the Romer backpack ($120), which is slightly more compact than the Falcon and replaces the Dually backpack.
Chrome’s footwear business is on fire; one of the newest additions is their first clip-in shoe that looks nothing like all the other hardcore bicycle-fanatic/enthusiast traditional bike shoe (and that’s a good thing for a lot of us). The Kursk Pro ($95) offers the same functionality of a traditional clip-in shoe with the aesthetic of a casual street sneaker, which is probably why it went out of stock so quickly.
Last August Chrome introduced the Dresden, a stylish suede low-profile Chukka style shoe. Available in black, grey and olive ($80).
Just in are Chrome’s No Show, Crew and Over-the-Calf socks. The entire sock line is made in North Carolina. Merino wool was chosen to keep feet dry so you can avoid swamp foot. The No Shows ($12) and Over-the-Calfs ($18) are currently available in charcoal only. Crew Socks ($16) come in charcoal, grey or olive, and all sock styles are available in four sizes from small to extra large.
Chrome just keeps on coming up with ways to make the cycling life style sweeter.
by Jialin Luh on May 01, 2011