This year, Chrome is doing something a little different with their limited edition bag run:
“Each season Chrome drops a limited edition of our most popular bags. This year we’ve partnered with Ben Ferencz – gentlemen, farmer, and creative director of the much loved Freeman Transport (R.I.P.). Designer and maker of stuff from the mountains & valleys of Montana, Ben is originally from NYC and has a unique perspective on what it means to live the city.
CHROME ELEMENTS includes heritage buckle messenger bags, technology packs, militia rolltops and accessories. Inspired by the natural dyes and trims used in original outdoor gear of the 1930’s and 40’s. Guaranteed for life.
ALL PRODUCTS MADE IN THE USA”
See more at Chrome and check out an interview with Ben Ferencz below.
MEET THE MAKERS: A DISCUSSION WITH BEN FERENCZ
Your background is in cycling & design, having founded both Freeman Transport & The Design Cooperative as well as FairEnds. How did you get involved in these areas? What does this crossroads lend to your design process?
In the summer of 1998 a friend of mine got me a job at Black Diamond in Salt Lake City. I was working in the pro-purchase department but the creative dept needed help putting together a spare parts catalog. I had never used any Adobe program before but told them I could do it. I had no clue what I was doing but somehow pulled it off, in large part because my roommate was a design student at BYU. And that was the beginning for me as a graphic designer and I never looked back. I returned to Missoula and worked as a designer there, before going to New York City for 3 years working in Soho at a couple of studios. But I fell in love with a farmer and it became obvious the city wasn’t for us. We moved back to Montana and have been on the farm for 8 years now. Freeman Transport happened on the farm one night when my then-partner Nathan was visiting. We wanted to make bicycle accessories. Somehow we started designing bicycles as well. It was quite a ride!
Give us some insight into how the Chrome Elements collection came about. What inspiration & influences did you draw from?
I was brought into Chrome by Matt Sharkey. He liked what I did with Freeman Transport and the way we interpreted cycling as a lifestyle. When I go back to new york we always get friends together to go for a ride outside the city. Usually in Westchester. A quick train ride out of the city. No cars, just bikes. The collection is about getting out of the city. One that is centered around friends, nature and bicycles.
How did you decide on this particular set of colors? What makes them Chrome?
The colors for the collection are centered around nature, ones you see outside the city in the country. Very basic but very rich.
What was your favorite part to work on for this collaboration?
My favorite part to work on was the initial concept deck and figuring out how to tell the story. Receiving the pantone tcx fabric swatch book was amazing too. Too bad I had to send it back!
What’s next on the horizon for you in Montana?
Well, right now, I’m in the process of pulling all the hot peppers out of the greenhouse and making batches of It’s Not That Freakin Hot Sauce, our handmade, farm-grown hot sauce. We’ve got our fall collection of FairEnds caps dropping very soon and I can smell the snow in the air, which means it’s time to hang up the bicycle and shine up my skis.
What do you miss most about the city?
What I miss most about the city is my family and friends, the food and the art.
See more of Ben’s work at FairEnds here!