The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

    Chrome: the urbanite’s go-to bag

    Cyclists first wore them, and now students and young urbanites across the country are wearing them: chrome messenger bags are more than just a trend, they’ve become a de facto urban accessory.

    Previously designed as a bag for hardcore bike enthusiasts, the Chrome bag, easily identified by its unique metal front-buckle, has gained fans far beyond its original target demographic.

    The bag is so popular that it has sparked countless imitators looking to top its design. However, few come close to reaching the qualities that have made Chrome bags so popular.

    Despite competition, Chrome’s bags remain in the lead when it comes to design, quality and value according to their customers. Since its inception, the California-based company has established a brand that people trust to deliver quality goods.

    Another aspect that’s very popular with Chrome bags is that they provide a great deal of storage space. Agnieszka Karoluk, a geography student at DePaul, has owned a Chrome messenger bag for two years and has taken it with her almost everywhere.

    “My Chrome bag traveled with me to India, to the U.K. and it rides with me daily on my (bike ride) commute to class and work,” said Karoluk. “It’s sturdy and holds a lot.”

    Zach Pollack, a student at Columbia University got his red Chrome messenger bag for similar reasons and uses his to lug around his 13-inch Macbook as well as his school textbooks. He was also drawn to a few other perks.

    “They have a lifetime guarantee so that rules,” said Pollack. “They’re also super sturdy and waterproof inside and have large pockets – I can fit a lot of stuff.”

    But the warranty comes at a price. Many of Chrome’s bags can cost over $100, which may be beyond the budget of some customers.

    Kelsey Coutts is the manager of Chrome’s official Chicago store located in Wicker Park. She explains that the price is fair and worth it.

    “Chrome is backed by one of the best warranties in the industry,” said Coutts. “We find the highest quality items and manufacture each of our products with integrity. Our bags are guaranteed for life to be free of defects in materials and in manufacturing. We will repair or replace, free of charge, any item that is found to be defective in materials or workmanship.”

    Students are also offered a 10 percent discount with a valid school ID, and 70 percent of the bags are made in the U.S. Therefore, purchasing a bag from Chrome means you’re supporting a local American business which may appeal to some consumers.

    Clayton Guse, a DePaul student and dedicated Chicago cyclist, received his Chrome bag as a Christmas gift.

    “I had wanted a solid backpack for a while, a reliable backpack that could store all of my bike tools, books and a change of clothes,” said Guse. “Chrome makes bags that are designed to accommodate all of that. My bag is a laptop bag, so I can ride without having my computer jam into my back. It’s well-padded, but breathes really well. It also has a variety of compartments that hold my tools, extra inner tubes and other equipment.”

    Recently, the strap on Guse’s bag broke off. It’s currently being repaired at the Wicker Park Chrome store, free of charge.

    “They’re fixing my bag for free, which really helps make the bag worth the price, ” said Guse.

    Guse, however, points out that the lifetime Chrome warranty does not cover normal wear and tear.

    Chrome bags come in an assortment of different colors and limited edition exclusive designs. One exclusive that the company created was a blue and white bag with red stars, styled after the Chicago flag.

    Another thing that sets apart Chrome from other companies is that they give customers the option of customizing their bags through their online store or official retail locations.

    This year, Chrome also started the “Chrome Custom Military Salvage Program” after an Iraq veteran requested the company make a bag out of his military duffle bag. The request was fulfilled and since then, Chrome has created countless one-of-a-kind bags for soldiers using their old military gear.

    Chrome has expanded since its inception in 1996 to sell not only an assortment of different bags, but also footwear, clothes and other accessories such as laptop sleeves, all which adhere to the same quality standards seen in their bags.

    One of the selling points of Chrome’s bags is that they are sturdy, resilient to wear and waterproof. But what exactly gives the bags these qualities? The answer lies in the materials and workmanship. Chrome bags are made from a mix of materials that include weatherproof cordura and tarpaulin, materials that give the bags their waterproof property.

    Turnarounds for a custom order are quick and efficient and are usually completed and shipped in as little as a single business day. Chrome bags also go through a series of inspections before being sold, resulting in the bags having a failure rate below one percent.

    “Chrome bags are popular because we haven’t wavered from our original intent to make durable, functional bags to fit the needs of the urban dweller,” said Coutts. “Our customers have come to rely on our quality and we stand behind our products.”