James Bareham's profile

Defy Bags

Chris Tag - Founder & CEO, Defy MFG.Co.
Defy Bags

Founded on one man's desire to create something truly unique, DEFY was born to prove that US manufacturing isn’t dead. That a small group of skilled and inspire craftspeople can make something that’s both functionally well designed, and undeniably "cool."

DEFY was founded in 2008 by former Chicago art director, Chris Tag. His grand design was to utilize the skills he’d honed creating advertising campaigns to sell other peoples products to promote one of his own––and create a new American classic in the process. It worked. Those late nights spent designing bags have given way to full days building the brand that is now Defy. "Live it" is no longer just a tagline.

I first worked with Chris shooting a campaign for Boeing for the agency DraftFCB in Chicago. Our friendship has grown over the years and many telephone calls and email chains of brainstorming ideas led to the birth of the tag lines "Old materials, new ideas" and "Defy. Live it."

As I share Chris’s passion for handmade craftsmanship we both knew that the only way to really get this unique and genuinely inspiring story across was to photograph it properly. I flew to Chicago and over the course of two days documented the people, the places, the materials and the passion that truly defines DEFY.

Creative Direction/Design: Chris Tag
Art Direction, photography & retouching: James Bareham

Chris Tag - Defy Bags Founder & CEO, at the studio in Ravenswood, Chicago IL
Defy Bags - Square Large
Defy Bags - Recon and Redacted
A Pile of Recons
Lexy Sandin - Defy seamstress
Shell Cordovan Leather from Horween
Finishing Shell Cordovan Leather at the Horween Leather Co, Chicago
Sorting Shell Cordovan Leather at the Horween Leather Co, Chicago
Curtis - Shell Cordovan Leather Grader at the Horween Leather Co, Chicago
Mr Iam - Sewing Master, Chicago
Defy - If Not Now, When?
Defy Bags

Defy Bags

A photographic reportage featuring the people behind this Chicago based manufacturing company specializing in handmade, well designed products.


Creative Fields