Bicycle Chains

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Published August 20, 2009

Berliners are uniformly proud of their mostly patched-up and passed-along bikes. But even the most beloved bike eventually gives up the ghost, which used to mean mounds of wasteful rubber, metal and other products cluttering up the city’s bike shops. But ex-pat Berliners Max Gassmann and Mara Goldwyn have created a solution with Skin 1.5, their low-fi line of belts, bags, cuffs and earrings made from resurrected bike bits. When the couple met last year, Gassmann was playing in a local band called Brace/Choir and had his own mobile business building monster mutant bikes. He was also making belts from old tires lying useless in his shop. His girlfriend, Goldwyn, who studied for a year at F.I.T in accessories design, has joined with him to incorporate even more discarded parts into their rugged accessory line. “Mara and I really got along with our interest in found-objects and making things with our hands,” says Gassmann. “We like to let the objects speak to us.” For their bags made from rubber inner tubing, Goldwyn weaves the structure around a single uncut tire which serves as the strap and skeleton. “I’m forced to work with the natural lines of the material,” Gassmann explains. “It’s all its own form and we just take it in hand and let it tell us what to do.” The wear-and-tear patina on the parts makes each of their creations uniquely interesting. The long fringed earrings, made from the wheels’ inner tubing, have a Native American sensibility that evokes the holistic ideal of using every part of a slain beast. And what are our bikes really, if not our trusty urban steeds? Thankfully Skin 1.5 ensures they aren’t just put to pasture when they grow too infirm to ride. Instead, they get to live on and race ahead into high-gear gritty urban style.

Contact for orders with Skin 1.5 at skin1point5@googlemail.com.