Be Seen. Be You. Be Proud.
Today, we’re so excited to unveil our third collaboration with Allan Shaw, founder of Gay's Okay Cycling in support of Outright International. Bigger and better than ever the collection has expanded from cycling caps to an entire capsule including bags and accessories with two drops in May and later in August. All proceeds from this collection (up to $20,000) will go directly to Outright International, a global organization dedicated to uplifting and supporting LGBTIQ+ lives.
The mantra behind the new collection is all about celebrating movement and being who you are, so we sat down with founder and co-collaborator, Allan Shaw to talk about the new collection.
Chrome: Before we dive into this juicy collection, tell us a little more about you!
Allan: I’m Allan, an adventure cyclist, photographer, writer, ex-bike messenger and proud member of the LGBTIQ+ community. 6 years ago I started my project Gay’s Okay with the express goal to energize and lift up the LGBTIQ+ cyclists out there in our community, to take up space and change the popular image of cycling to one that is more inclusive.
Chrome: How did you and Chrome connect?
Allan: My origin story with Chrome goes back more than 10 years. When I first started as a Bike messenger at the end of 2012 in Vancouver, Canada, I was provided with the now discontinued Chrome Metropolis messenger bag by my company. After its first year strapped to my back I left Vancouver and I bought the bag from the company, and all these years later I still own and frequently use this bag. In this sense, for a long time I’ve known all-too-well just how comfortable, durable and well-constructed the Chrome collection is.
A few years after having started my LGBTIQ+ Cycling cap brand Gay’s Okay back in 2017, I reached out to the Chrome team via mutual connections to ask what they might think about collaborating on something together. The team has been fully on board ever since. Both our respective companies are deeply rooted in the communities of urban cycling, punk, bike messengers. These communities, though they still have plenty of work to do, tend to be more inclusive spaces for LGBTIQ+ people than the rest of the cycling world and I knew from the start that we could do great work together and potentially make a really meaningful impact. Since we started working together our pride cap collection has raised many thousands of dollars for worthy LGBTIQ+ causes and brought countless smiles to faces all over the world.
Chrome: How were the products selected?
Allan: I worked very closely with the product development team to define the concept, design and breadth of products to include. We did a lot of design and experimentation work. I have always been a big fan of Chrome’s reflective panels and products, and had so many ideas around visibility making for a safer environment for cyclists, and how that visibility can also make for safer environments for LGBTIQ+ people too. This message of visibility, the empowerment of being seen, acknowledged and embraced as you are being so important not just for your confidence but also for your survival. Being able to work directly with suppliers to experiment with the oil slick reflective effect was really fun and the results are incredible.
Chrome: What are you most proud of in this special collaboration?
Allan: For me it's truly a full circle moment to go from 22-year-old me on my first day as a bike messenger with my brand new Chrome bag to producing my own chrome collection in support of the LGBTIQ+ cycling community. Being able to not just be part of this but be one of the leaders is a truly meaningful moment for me.
Chrome: What do you want people to know about this collection?
Allan: I believe very strongly in our message of visibility directly disarming prejudice and helping us all be part of a more empathetic and safe society. The more we can put a human face to us as both cyclists and LGBTIQ+ people, the harder it makes it to discriminate against us. It’s harder to think of us as merely an obstacle in the road, or some kind of threat to your values. We become a reflection of the people in your life you love and that deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
Chrome: How did you and Chrome select Outright as the partner for this collection?
Allan: For many years, as part of my Gay’s Okay project, I have worked with Outright International to donate profits to support the work they do. I strongly believed from the get-go that this project needed to have a strong give-back element and that I couldn't pocket all the profit myself for something I wanted to be both meaningful and impactful. In many ways OutRight International is the best organization we could hope to donate to for many different reasons. Principally for just how international their work is. I know that not only do we need our impact to go beyond our developed western nations to include our whole LGBTIQ+ family around the world, but also that we need to keep highlighting just how much harder the right to exist as a LGBTIQ+ person in the developing world is. There is hardly a corner of the world where the struggle for rights and freedom from discrimination exists that OutRight International doesn’t have a connection to, alongside their team and partners. They are able to highlight very specific situations and struggles while also having a broad scope that is inclusive of everyone worldwide, just what I hope to also reflect with Gay’s Okay.
Chrome: What’s your favorite piece in the collection and why?
Allan: That’s a really tricky question. What I like about the collection is that each item has quite an individual use, each piece is unique while the aesthetic and message is consistent. I think the items I will most likely end up using the most on my day-to-day will most likely be the Kadet and the 5-panel cap. The Kadet has always been a super useful day-bag for me both for longer rides and cutting around the city. It is lightweight, comfortable, versatile and well-constructed. The 5-panel I just love the look of, and it was a product I really pushed to be part of the collection, partly because I really wanted one for myself!
What are you most proud of in this stunning new capsule?
Honestly, though there are many contenders for highlight/most proud moment, the part that really jumped out at me when I got hold of it is the oil slick buckle. IMAGINE. The most iconic buckle in the world of cycling bags, one I’ve seen and used thousands of times, that I got to redesign to make it more GAY, and so completely unique and one off. It’s really quite epic.
LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SECOND DROP (AUGUST) WHICH WILL INCLUDE:
Explore the current Chrome X Gay's Okay Collection.