Chrome Hearts operates differently from most luxury fashion houses: instead of staging runway shows, they release two collections each year along with one-off pieces.
Chrome Hearts’ unique approach to business has allowed them to develop a cult following in an otherwise oversaturated fashion market. Their signature ‘Fuck You’ rings are still highly coveted items among consumers today.
Chrome Hearts stands out in an age where celebrity collaborations, excessive branding and exorbitant merchandise dominate fashion trends; their point of view stands out and their operations operate with their own set of rules.
Stark and Leonard Kamhout launched their business by producing leather biker-inspired clothing and accessories in a Los Angeles garage, drawing inspiration from their passions and roots within biker culture to craft clothing that appealed to rock stars and other celebrities alike.
Troma Films granted them permission to design costumes for movies produced by Troma, eventually drawing their attention of Steve Jones from Sex Pistols who was particularly fond of their designs.
Over time, the brand expanded and found success among clients such as Cher, Guns N’ Roses and even fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld in Manhattan in the early ’90s. Lagerfeld dropped by to admire their jewelry designs before purchasing his own piece there!
The Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards serve as an important platform for their annual fundraiser and marketing endeavor, the CFDA Awards. As such, these annual celebrations provide both fundraising and marketing benefits. This year the event has also expanded further by including celebrity presenters/hosts/livestream and an Influencer award.
This year’s CFDA Awards ceremony took place on Monday and was highlighted by singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz receiving the 2022 Fashion Icon award, presented by Bradley Cooper. Additionally, they created a posthumous award in memory of late designer Virgil Abloh: Board of Trustee’s Award; Khaite’s Catherine Holstein was recognized with American Womenswear Designer of the Year honors while Raul Lopez from LUAR was honored as American Accessory Designer of the Year honors while Elena Velez received Emerging Designer of the Year accolades as Emerging Designer of 2018.
Other winners included hairstylist Law Roach, who won the Stylist Award for his viral red carpet moments with Zendaya; House of Slay consisting of Prabal Gurung, Laura Kim, Phillip Lim, Tina Leung and Ezra William who won Positive Social Influence award; model Paloma Elsesser who received Inaugural Innovation Award presented by Amazon Fashion; view complete list here
Rei Kawakubo Collaboration
Rei Kawakubo first established Comme des Garcons fashion brand 41 years ago and immediately broke with convention by following her own rules and playing by them. She focused on concepts rather than trends, often pushing conventional notions of beauty aside. For example, she would sew one jacket half onto another, make asymmetrical dresses, reassemble hybrid garments out of pieces from multiple garments, slow down her fashion shows to more like art galleries etc.
She’s involved in all aspects of the company from design and production to graphic design and shop interiors, guided by what she calls “Kachikan,” an umbrella of values that govern all her endeavors.
Kawakubo is often described as a bold, eccentric visionary who shies away from interviews. Her work can be both divisive within fashion industry circles as well as being critiqued outside it; consequently it makes sense that she would collaborate with artist Cindy Sherman (Untitled Film Stills series destabilize assumptions about what photographs depict). Like Kawakubo, Sherman embraces commercial appropriation but remains noncommercial artist who critiques it at every turn.
Stark is an influential luxury player, boasting its own global network of boutiques and flagship stores. To stay current in fashion trends, they release two collections each year as well as working with artists to craft one-off pieces.
The couple’s fetishistic approach to design is one of the key attractions of their brand and in line with current trends, particularly an increase in gothic revival as seen at London’s V&A museum. A prime example of this phenomenon was recently featured at Botticelli Reimagined exhibition.
Chrome Hearts has also seen success from the rise of streetwear and celebrity culture, with rappers like Drake wearing its clothing. Furthermore, with the rise of StockX resale boutiques more people have access to purchasing Chrome Hearts products.
Though the brand has seen incredible growth over the years, they remain true to their roots by not advertising or participating in the modern-day fashion system. Instead they release collections whenever they feel it necessary through carefully chosen partners – not taking part in runway shows or presentations but instead opting to hire and train craftsmen as part of their legacy.
As with any brand that achieves such widespread and mainstream popularity, Chrome Hearts’ mainstream exposure has had both negative and positive ramifications. Mainstream consumption has allowed more individuals to gain access to previously difficult-to-obtain pieces through secondary market resell platforms like StockX and boutiques worldwide; furthermore memes poking fun at their Old English font logo and motto, “If You Know, You Know”, have become ubiquitous online.