Chrome Hearts - A Brief History

Chrome Hearts - A Brief History

    Chrome Hearts was founded in 1988 by Richard Stark, Leonard Kamhout and John Bowman ¹ ². . Chrome Hearts is a luxury brand that specializes in clothing, accessories, jewelry, furniture, leather, eyewear and fragrances ². The company is currently co-owned by Richard Stark and Laurie Lynn Stark ¹ ² and headquartered in Los Angeles, CA ¹.




     In the city of angels, a small garage held the seeds of a revolutionary brand. Chrome Hearts, founded in 1988 by Richard Stark, Leonard Kamhout, and John Bowman, began as a leather motorcycle riding gear company. Little did they know, their passion for exceptional design and fine craftsmanship would eventually lead them to the world of hype, high-fashion, jewelry and eyewear. 


Richard Stark and John Bowman started the business in a Los Angeles garage in early 1988. They initially produced leather jackets that weren't available on the market. The third partner, Leonard Kamhout, a master sterling silver jeweler, joined the company, and their first task was a costume design for the movie Chopper Chicks in Zombietown. The brand's name was inspired by the movie's working title.

      Chrome Hearts' first products were handmade leather items catering to L.A.'s bike culture. The brand's dedication to detail, superior quality, and distinctive aesthetic quickly caught the attention of Hollywood. Collaborations with renowned celebrities and bands like the Sex Pistols, Motley Crüe, Guns N' Roses, and Skid Row followed, solidifying Chrome Hearts' reputation.


Chrome Hearts was founded by Richard Stark in 1988, who opened the first store in SoHo, New York. In 1989, he opened Chrome Hearts to the public.

In 1990, Richard opened his first exclusive club in Tokyo and Beverly Hills. By 1994 there were eight locations: Los Angeles (Beverly Hills), New York City (SoHo), Paris France, London England, Toronto Canada, Sydney Australia and Hong Kong China; each location had its own character because it was designed by different architects from around the world.

In the 1990s, Chrome Hearts expanded into eyewear, aligning with the growing trend of eyeglasses as fashion accessories. The brand brought its unique aesthetic to eyewear, focusing on high-quality materials and unparalleled design. The eyewear collection, including men's and women's Chrome Hearts eyeglasses, became synonymous with luxury.

In 1992, Chrome Hearts was awarded Accessory Designer of the Year by the CFDA. The brand opened its first boutique in Manhattan, New York City, in 1996, followed by stores in Tokyo, West Hollywood, and Hong Kong. In the early 2000s, Chrome Hearts began publishing its own fashion magazine, featuring interviews and celebrity photoshoots.
Chrome Hearts is recognized for its clothing, accessories, furniture, leather products, and eyewear. They have collaborated with iconic brands like The Rolling Stones, Comme des Garçons, BAPE, Rick Owens, and Virgil Abloh from Off-White. The brand has also worked with celebrities like Bella Hadid, Drake, and Gigi Hadid.

Chrome Hearts is renowned for its distinctive design elements, high-quality craftsmanship, and use of luxury materials. The brand's products, which span from jewelry to apparel and accessories, are instantly recognizable thanks to a variety of iconic details and motifs that have become synonymous with the Chrome Hearts identity. Below are some of the most notable motifs and details that characterize Chrome Hearts' designs:

  • Cross Motif: Perhaps the most iconic detail, the Chrome Hearts cross appears in various styles across all their products, from jewelry to zipper pulls and clothing.
  • Dagger Designs: Chrome Hearts frequently incorporates dagger motifs into its jewelry and hardware, embodying a punk rock and gothic aesthetic.
  • Fleur-de-Lys: This stylized lily is another recurring motif, symbolizing perfection, light, and life, elegantly integrated into their designs.
  • Gothic Script: The use of gothic script in Chrome Hearts’ branding, including logo inscriptions on their products, adds to the brand's medieval and gothic allure.
  • Leather Craftsmanship: High-quality leather work featuring intricate patterns, often studded or with embossed designs, is a hallmark of Chrome Hearts apparel and accessories.
  • Silver Jewelry: The brand is well-known for its luxurious and hefty sterling silver jewelry, often featuring the cross, fleur-de-lis, or dagger motifs.
  • Maltese Cross: Similar yet distinct from the standard cross, the Maltese cross is another symbol frequently utilized in their elaborate designs.
  • Filigree Work: Fine, delicate metalwork often features in Chrome Hearts’ jewelry, showcasing the brand's attention to detail and craftsmanship.

These motifs and details not only serve as the emblematic hallmarks of Chrome Hearts but also as a testament to the brand's commitment to maintaining its unique identity amidst the fast-changing fashion industry.



Iconic Chrome Hearts Pieces and Collaborations: The Legacy of Luxury and Edge

  • Leather Jackets: Signature high-quality craftsmanship with a gothic aesthetic.
  • Eyewear: Distinctive designs featuring crosses and floral patterns.
  • Chrome Hearts x Off-White: Fusion of bold and contemporary streetwear.
  • Chrome Hearts x Rolling Stones (2007): A collaboration bridging fashion with rock music heritage.
  • Chrome Hearts x Baccarat: Luxurious crystal decanters and tumblers from a decade-long partnership.
  • Collaborations with Comme des Garçons and Off-White: A blend of unique aesthetics with high-end fashion brands.
  • Chrome Hearts x Drake Certified Lover Boy Vintage Levi’s: Customized denim with blue leather crosses exclusive to Miami.










Milestones & Key Collaborations
  • 1989: Design debut in "Chopper Chicks in Zombietown."
  • 1992: Cher's CFDA Awards ensemble featuring leather flare pants with cross accents.
  • 1996: Matt LeBlanc's Emmys appearance with Chrome Hearts leather sling.
  • 2002: The Rolling Stones collaboration introducing "Lips and Tongue" designs.
  • 2007: Comme des Garçons partnership showcasing pendants and garments.
  • 2009: BAPE collaboration featuring the Chrome Hearts X BABY MILO t-shirt series.
  • 2010: Rick Owens collaboration featuring jewelry and sneakers at Paris Fashion Week.
  • 2014: Chrome Hearts invests in The Elder Statesman.
  • 2015: Virgil Abloh's Off-White capsules with Chrome Hearts.
  • 2016: The Rolling Stones and Chrome Hearts reunite for more designs.
  • 2017: Bella Hadid joins forces for a 40-piece Chrome Hearts collection.
  • 2018: Another hoodie and collection launch with Virgil Abloh's Off-White.
  • 2020: Custom features for Drake's Rolls-Royce Cullinan by Chrome Hearts.
  • 2021: Chrome Hearts promotes Drake's album with a specialized collection.





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