The History Of Chrome Hearts 

Chrome hearts is a high-end jewelry company that was founded by three American entrepreneurs: Richard Stark, John Bowman, and Leonard Kamhout back in 1988. Since then, the firm has grown to fairly compete with other prominent brands in the jewelry industry. 

An Introduction to Chrome Hearts

Any time you mention Chrome Hearts in the U.S., most people will associate that with a rocker, badass, or wealthy lifestyle. Over time, the company has expanded to produce products such as sunglasses, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and wife beaters or tank tops. This firm is located at the heart of Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Founding of the Chrome Hearts Brand

When they were starting the company, Richard Stark and his friend John Bowman were mainly designing products such as leather jackets, chaps, and saddlebags for their Harley-riding friends. Later on, they realized just how their skill could turn out into a lucrative business and decided to scale up. 

When they initially commercialized the firm, each of them specialized in a different field. Bowman took the role of designing leather products while Stark managed the marketing and sales department.

At one point during an interview, Stark was asked what compelled them to start the company. In response, Stark said that he used to ride bikes with his friend Richard, but at that time they could not access good jackets that they wanted. 

That’s why they ended up designing their own, unaware that it would turn out into such a great firm. The amazing part of the company is that all their products are handmade and of exceptional quality. With time, the firm expanded from making leather products to even more precious jewelry such as diamond jewelry, silver accessories, and even furniture.

Expansion of Chrome Hearts

Later on, the third business partner, Leonard Kamhout, joined them as a jeweler. Kamhout was highly skilled in sterling silver. He later became the founder of Lone Ones, a private custom jewelry atelier, also based in Los Angeles, California. So, the trio became the pillars behind the Chrome Hearts Company.

A year later, Chrome Hearts landed its first gig where they were tasked with making a costume design for chopper chicks in Zombietown—a comical American horror movie that was written and directed by Dan Hopkins. The movie also featured several popular artists such as Billy Bob Thornton, Hal Sparks, and Veejay Martha Quinn. Spark got the title of his brand, “Lone One,” from this project. Lone One was a name given to one of the sex pistols that they were costarring. However, like in any other business, there emerged a fallout among the parties and some had to quit. It is in 1994 when Leonard Kamhout joined Devon Wheeler and together they founded Lone One.

In one of their projects, Chrome Hearts was hired by Laurie Lynn to design leather swimsuits. In the process, Laurie and Stark got into a relationship and later got married. So Laura also became a partner in the company.

The company continued to expand to other cities, and in 1996, Chrome Hearts opened its first outlet store in Manhattan, New York. Ever since the company has continued to expand to other prominent cities in the world. As of April 2020, the company had expanded to four continents in the world.

  • In Asia, it has stores in Hong Kong, Busan, Nagoya, Kobe, Tokyo Taipei, Seoul, Osaka, Beijing, Fukuoka, and Hangzhou.
  • In Europe, Chrome Hearts has stores at Manchester, London, and Paris.
  • In North America’s Caribbean islands, they also have stores at Saint Barthélemy.

The company also made great achievements such as winning the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) award in 1992 under the category of Accessory Designer of the Year. This award was presented to Cher, who was fully dressed in Chrome Hearts, although he says he didn’t know what CFDA is all about!

This extensive growth can be attributed to the many collaborations that Chrome Hearts has entered into with other distinguished firms.

A List of Chrome Hearts Collaborations

In 2002, the company worked with the legendary rock band, The Rolling Stones, to design a jewelry collection to celebrate their “Forty Licks” album and world tour. The collection was crafted using gemstones and diamonds and included the iconic “Lips and Tongue” motif.

In 2007, Chrome Hearts joined forces with the Japanese fashion brand, Comme des Garçons, to create a line of pendants and dark-themed garments that have remained popular to this day. In 2010, the company teamed up with Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation and fashion designer Rick Owens to create unique shoe designs that incorporated silver decorations.

In 2014, Chrome Hearts took a strategic and personal step by buying a minority stake in The Elder Statesman, a high-end knitwear and lifestyle company. The investment was noted as being both strategic and personal. In 2016, Chrome Hearts worked with Adidas to customize the iconic Stan Smith silhouette, adding their hallmark silver accents to the eyelets and other metal elements.

The company has also had successful collaborations with Off-White, an Italian luxury fashion label, in 2012 and 2018. The latter collaboration resulted in the release of a highly popular bench that was well received by the public. In 2017, Chrome Hearts teamed up with model Bella Hadid to create a 40-piece apparel and accessories line, which helped the company establish its first shops-in-shop at Selfridges and was featured in the 2017 Paris Fashion Week.

Overall, Chrome Hearts has demonstrated its ability to collaborate effectively with a range of iconic brands and designers to create innovative and popular products.

Over the years, Chrome Hearts has developed into an influential brand, especially in the United States, attracting many wealthy people, especially from celebrities from the music industry. Some of them include Kanye West, Britney Spears, LeBron James, Jaye Muller, Steven Tyler, Karl Lagerfeld, Elton John among others.

Generally, Chrome Hearts has experienced exponential growth since it was established, which is a great inspiration. It can almost be concluded that the next move is up!