Chrome Hearts is interestingly one of the fashion industry’s best-kept secrets. This brand seems to be everywhere nowadays. From Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake, Kylie Jenner’s Instagram post, and many more. It has been around since the 1980’s, known for its luxurious silver and leather products with the look and feel of a classy biker. Here’s a glimpse of where it all started and how it got to where it is today.
In 1988, Richard Stark and a leather manufacturer and John Bowman were deeply interested in the motorcycle culture and decided to put their talents to use, thus creating leather jackets. In a Los Angeles garage, they started making gear for themselves and their friends, which later turned into a small Leather manufacturing company. Sterling silver jeweler Leonard Kamhout joined the operation shortly after. Which became a significant part of the Chrome Hearts brand identity.
The then-girlfriend of lead guitar player Steve Jones was starring in a low-budget horror-comedy from 1989 enlabelled Chopper Chicks in Zombietown and Chrome Hearts developed some outfits for the film. Jones took a preference to the brand name and started using it on phase. From then on, one of the most considerable exposures for the brand came from the legendary punk rock band, the Sex Pistols. Later on, it became popular in the Punk and Rock Community, wherein various other huge bands like Motley Crüe and Weapons N’ Roses began using its leather pieces and accessories, which began to institute the brand as an essential part of the rockstar uniform at the time.
Interestingly, one of the remarkable artists and designers in the fashion industry was Laurie Lynn. She had a collaborated collection with Richard Stark back then, and in just a few months, the two of them got happily married. This was a significant turning point for Chrome Hearts when she started taking part in the brand’s marketing, photography, and introduction of a ready-wear collection, opening opportunities to a broader audience.
Initially, the brand was founded by three icons: Richard Stark, John Bowman, and Leonard Kamhout. But as Chrome Hearts rose to popularity, the three decided to part ways in 1991. Wherein Richard Stark purchased their shares in the business, making him the sole owner of the brand. After the buying out of shares, Richard continued to produce jewelry, leather goods and expanded to home furniture and decors. While Laurie worked on the Chrome Hearts Accessories and Magazine content and publications featuring her amazing photographs of the brand’s models and campaigns.
In 1991, Stark had an opportunity to bring a single leather jacket to Tommy Perse–the founder of a Luxury and Avant-Garde Boutique, Maxfield, which became a stepping stone for Chrome Hearts to be introduced to the public. It also paved the way to being stalked by several shops and places and was also featured in several Vogue Campaigns. (see Wild at Heart Vogue Campaign 1991)–finally getting mainstream recognition and is about to have a major breakthrough from this point on. Chrome Hearts got a CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year honor in 1992, which secured its prestige and enhanced brand name understanding. He obviously practically really did not approve the distinguished recognize at the moment since he had not been knowledgeable about the CFDA. As the granting underwent, Richard Plain selected Cher–a music symbol, to provide the honor throughout the event.
In addition to it acquiring continuous appeal, Comme des Garçon’s Rei Kawakubo was accountable for Chrome Hearts‘ intro into the Japanese market about the exact same time. By showcasing the brand’s goods for a season in CDG’s Aoyama flagship back in the ’90s. By 1996, Chrome Hearts finally set up a shop in New York city and 1999 in Tokyo, Japan. As the brand expanded Richard and Lynn makes sure that everything is still in control.
Exceptionally, Chrome hearts brand has established a design language that made them stand out among other brands. Silver, Leather, Stylized crosses, and old English font have been and will always be the very personality of Chrome Hearts. This will remain the most fascinating part of the brand.
For Richard Stark, he was very particular about brands and artists that he wants to work with. The first of which was back In 2002, with The Rolling Stones featuring the band’s iconic “Lips and Tongue” motif. Two years after Yves Saint Laurent partnered with Chrome Hearts and released exclusive t-shirts.
And then, later on, teamed up with the Japanese fashion brand Comme des Garçons worked on a series of pendants and garments in 2007.
In 2010, working on a shoe design with silver embellishments, Chrome Hearts collaborated with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation and Rick Owens.
A few years later, Chrome Hearts bought a minority stake in high-end knitwear brand The Elder Statesman. And employed its hallmark silver accents in customizing the iconic Adidas Stan Smith. Also, the brand has collaborated with off-white on several occasions. Interestingly, the Hadids were closely involved with Chrome Hearts. The CHROME HEARTS x BELLA Hadid collection debuted at Paris Fashion Week, while Gigi Hadid has modeled for the brand.
While it started in an LA garage, the brand name currently extends three blocks in Hollywood, a 250,000 square-foot land area with 13 buildings and eight factories. Notwithstanding its extensive popularity and positioning among some of the most prominent fashion designers worldwide, the radical nature of Chrome Hearts is something that Richard keeps it to this day. It might appear like a luxury fashion brand to everyone, but not him. Check out Homeless Penthouse Behind the Seams to know more about Chromehearts and how it all started!