Referring to Chrome Hearts as a “luxury” label is a tad awkward, considering founder Richard Stark hates the term. The way he sees it, luxury is simply a phrase the fashion industry throws around to espouse superiority and exclusivity, as opposed to his and his family’s main concern: craftsmanship and control. Still, if any U.S.-based brand deserves the title of American luxury, it is inarguably them. From a homegrown business to a purportedly billion dollar enterprise, Chrome Hearts rivals any American luxury goods business in both sales and scope.

LA’s equivalent to Ralph Lauren, Chrome Hearts is the City of Angels personified, glitz, glam and Hollywood rock n' roll rolled into one. Yet, despite a sizable retail footprint and vastly diverse clientele, it is an oddity, avoiding press, the fashion calendar and e-commerce altogether. In an era where brick-and-mortar retail is struggling, Chrome Hearts is doubling down, with plans to open multiple flagships and department store shop-in-shops over the next year despite a sluggish economy and increasingly bleak in-person shopping environment. Stranger still, the brand is committed to an in-store only approach, even when labels as vaunted as Chanel, Dior and Hermès have all caved to the demands of online shopping. Going against the industry, however, is business as usual for Chrome Hearts.

For more than 30 years, the label has—to borrow a phrase that adorns its clothes and stores—said a big, “F**k You” to well, everyone, and done whatever it pleases. Given the surging demand, endless collaborations and near universal respect, it’s clearly working.

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