Cannabis Couture Debuts at New York Fashion Week
When fashion designer and Project Runway star, Korto Momolu, debuted her line of cannabis-inspired couture – a collection created in partnership with Women Grow – at September 2019’s New York Fashion Week, she not only broke new ground with her designs but also helped further the cause of cannabis for entrepreneurs in every industry. Momolu’s collection represented another “coming out” moment for cannabis culture, one of many that have shattered conventional illusions and given voice to growing audience of cannabis enthusiasts.
A Growth Industry
Cannabis-inspired fashion is not new, certainly not to anyone who has worn a tie-dye shirt or stamped the iconic marijuana leaf on their clothing; and certainly not to those who have hailed designers such as Alexander Wang for their embrace of the cannabis plant.
Cannabis is now part of the luxury lifestyle, infused in everything from beauty products to accessories and designer dresses. In 2017, Dae Lim and Mia Park made headlines with the launch of their Smokewear label, and premiered their Sundae School line of cannabis clothing at New York Fashion Week in February 2019. That same year, Beverly Hills Cannabis Club founder Cheryl Shuman unveiled a $150,000 diamond-encrusted vape to go alongside her selection of $500 cannabis-infused cigars and other products.
So, why is cannabis couture having its moment? Much of it has to do with the evolving perception of cannabis, buoyed by the legalization movement that’s sweeping through the United States. Historically, when something once considered “taboo” becomes mainstream, it loses some of its luster – the coolness factor goes down, like when you were a teenager and your parents started liking the same music you did. In the case of cannabis, however, the culture has grown, partly because of the influence of designers and celebrities, and partly because cannabis culture is, in of itself, open and accepting. Who wants to be a gatekeeper when we’re all part of the same community?
A History in Hemp
While fashion’s full-on embrace of cannabis culture might leave some consumers behind (how many of us can afford designer threads or a $150,000 vape?), but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it part of your wardrobe. After all, Momolu, Wang, and others can all trace the roots of their designs back to the hemp plant.
Hemp-based fabrics helped form the foundation of cannabis fashion. Throughout history, hemp has been used in the manufacture of everything from rope to sail canvas to clothing. In the modern era, hemp is hailed as one of the most eco-friendly fabrics on the planet, with antibacterial, biodegradable, and renewable benefits, and has become the go-to for several brands, including Recreator, Jungmaven, and denim devotee Levi Strauss & Co., which in 2019 launched its own line of hemp clothing that the company claims “feels just like cotton.”
Hemp fashions not only signal your embrace of a sustainable lifestyle, they can become your go-to material if you make your own clothing. A simple Google search yields numerous results, including links to survivalist websites with step-by-step instructions for making clothing from the hemp plant. It’s not as easy as ordering a new shirt online, but the instructions may come in handy someday.