Behind the Scenes: BLCKCHRM Edition w/ Stephen Willis
Posted on May 04 2020
Take a Look at How Stephen Willis, a Designer From Chrome Industries Creates Innovation Through Their Latest BLCKCHRM Collection.
Chrome Industries is a classic and well-known brand among many commuters both on bikes and feet. They started from a Juki sewing machine, a few yards of industrial-grade nylon, military-grade truck tarpaulin, and the commitment to making durable useful gear that works on and off the bike. They believe in needing stuff that more functional and less fashionable. They care about what is put into each product and pushes the belief that everything they build is purpose focused.
The BLCKCHRM Collection is the latest step up in innovation. They take innovative materials and incorporate new methods of craftsmanship to allow for an improvement in carrying and moving throughout the city.
With the BLCKCHRM Citizen Messenger and the Kadet joining the UrbanCred collection, we wanted to connect with Stephen Willis, designer at Chrome Industries, and ask a few questions on the creation of the BLCKCHRM line of bags.
1. What is BLCKCHRM Edition all about? How does it differ from the rest of the Chrome Industries Collection?
Chrome’s BLCKCHRM collection has been focused on taking our iconic silhouettes and reintroducing them in some of the best fabrics and trims we’ve been able to find. Taking cues from advanced technologies used in the most extreme conditions we use BLCKCHRM to elevate our offering to another level. Our BLCKCHRM 22X collection is constructed using the same bombproof methods that we’ve been known for since 1995.
2. How did the idea to use the 22x sailcloth material come about?
While looking for new fabrics to implement into our line we wanted things to continue along with our ethos of being simple, durable, and functional. Our 22X Nylon came about by utilizing a lamination process with lighter weight nylon to create a fabric that retains the balance of being waterproof, light, and strong.
3. How does the team in Chrome Industries innovate with something like bags that isn't usually known for innovation?
Our team is constantly studying movement. We build products for people that are moving from one part of the city to another and changing their activities and surroundings as they travel. What our customers take with them as they leave their homes needs to support a wide range of tasks. Taking deep dives into touchpoints from straps, to back panels, and understanding how fabric choices will react with the elements we’re always looking to make the next move. This is evident for us especially on our new BLCKCHRM Bravo 3.0, and BLCKCHRM Yalta 3.0 with an entirely redesigned back pad system that allows for increased airflow, and moisture management.
4. Did you come across any difficulties when creating the BLCKCHRM collection? Both design and production?
Every new design comes with its challenges, and the biggest one for this version of the BLCKCHRM collection was which bags will see the 22X treatment. We’re creating and testing prototypes a long time before we get to market, so for our team, our bags become a part of us. The hardest part is when to say you’re finished with the design, and move into production. Luckily there’s always tomorrow to come back to the drawing board, and figure out new solutions.
5. Where did this pack sell the best?
We saw a big movement with this collection in our HUB cities of New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. Each city playing its part at the intersection of culture and technology resounded perfectly with BLCKCHRM 22X. The fabric and trims speak to people that are looking for the best performing characteristic for everyday city life.
6. Are there certain guidelines in place that you follow in order to balance quality and price?
It all starts with our direction for the given project. BLCKCHRM lets the reigns loose for us as it’s finding the best no-compromise make up that will work with our design goals. For being a brand that’s built on our bags serving the customer we always look to have quality and durability being at the forefront of every design.
7. Will other bags be getting the BLCKCHRM treatment? Do you have any secret projects coming up later this year that you can share with our readers?
Time will tell what the next iteration of BLCKCHRM will look like. What we’re working on now is all about being multimodal, continuing to serve the customer as the day’s task changes. We’re looking at ways to be lighter, and faster, but still retain what Chrome is known for in making the most durable, useful, and purposeful gear that you can find.
Thanks to Stephen and Chrome Industries for answering these questions and for more Chrome Industries check out http://urbancred.com/ for more awesome bags. Also, keep in mind that we have a special Pre-Order offer ongoing with 10% off + a free utility pouch with each purchase. Offer ends soon. Click below for more details!