Weed has always been able to win over new converts. This stems from cannabis’ innate uplifting potential, as well as from activists advertising their support of the plant. But simply supporting the substance isn’t enough. 20th-century cannabis prohibition gave birth to a passionate subculture of weed enthusiasts who hold the distinctive image of the marijuana leaf in high regard. As such, it has graced innumerable t-shirts and other garments.

Although weed in fashion has long existed, it was only in recent years that it made a splash in the world of high fashion. As far as trends go, cannabis is definitely “in.” Now, as celebrities and other creatives appear in magazines wearing weed apparel, the worlds of art and cannabis are more closely-knit than ever.

THE FUTURE OF CANNABIS-INSPIRED FASHION

Wearing cannabis-inspired clothing has always been a statement. Today, the look is being refined and updated to meet a new generation of consumers and advocates. As a result, cannabis fashion is reaching new heights. Like a tempered version of the 90’s “heroin chic” look popularised by Kate Moss, weed as "look" has a more positive and community-oriented impact on the fashion community. What does the future of wearable weed look like? As more comprehensive legislation is passed allowing for cannabis use and sale, the movement is likely to continue its ascent.

WHAT IS ON THE MARKET?

Products made from hemp have been around for hundreds of years. Now, they are even more widely available. Hemp is a fibrous, structurally sound material in its own right, making it ideal for constructing garments. Collections made from hemp have been appearing with greater frequency in fashion shows run by prestigious houses. While Project Runway may not have featured hemp (yet), look for it soon. After all, this is a show that once forced its contestants to design couture pieces out of burlap.

Then of course, there are several brands releasing sports and leisurewear, exhibiting some kind of cannabis-friendly logo or statement at the forefront. From tank tops to socks, these items are wildly popular, inspiring designers to elevate cannabis fashion to new levels of artistic progression.

Cannabis Market Products fibra leisurewear

JEWELLERY

Other popular categories of cannabis-themed merchandise include accessories and jewellery. Everything from earrings and bracelets to pens and tie clips have undergone the weed treatment.

Cannabis jewellery has taken Hollywood by storm. Nowhere is this more evident than in the work of designer Jacquie Aiche. Founded in 2007, her Sweet Leaf motif jewellery is lauded by celebrity clients for its aesthetic and classy cannabis symbology. With famous adherents that include Rihanna, Kendall Jenner and Bianca Barnhill, these pricey accessories have already debuted at the White House. A snakeskin clutch from this collection can set you back an astonishing $2,000!

Cannabis paraphernalia has also received a 21st century makeover. This has culminated in high-quality accessories, such as lighters, vaporisers and of course, glassware. Even more popular are items that serve double duty as functional pieces. Take for example the headline-making grinder-necklace released by uber-hot fashion label Vetements in 2016.

CANNABIS COUTURE

Cannabis leaves used thematically in clothing (or included in the fabric) have emerged with confidence in the last few years. Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott introduced the green-washed Adidas logo in 2012. Mara Hoffman debuted a spring collection in 2015 featuring cannabis leaves woven into dresses and trousers. Alexander Wang followed suit, incorporating black and white designs into his fall 2016 collection.

MAINSTREAM BRAND AWARENESS & ACCEPTANCE

The legal U.S. cannabis industry already celebrated a $7 billion year in 2016. Its projected annual growth rate over the next several years is around 17%. Combine that with Canada’s burgeoning recreational market and developments occurring within Mexico and weed is setup to dominate the western hemisphere.

The cannabusiness is still largely a non-branded industry. However, this is changing. To date, mainstream brands have been extremely trepidatious to take the reigns on weed apparel. This is due to prohibitory regulations and the potential of losing customers. However, fashion may well be the perfect venue to incite mainstream acceptance of cannabis. As maverick designers take risks with edgy pot products, other major fashion forces will follow suit.

This is especially true given the intermingling between celebrities, fashion and weed culture. Designers in major fashion meccas like New York City and Los Angeles have navigated rough waters regarding cannabis decriminalisation. Slowly but surely, more brands have incorporated cannabis into their advertisements. The first city campaign for medical marijuana patients just got the green light by New York authorities. Fashion Week will not be far behind.

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THE FUTURE OF CANNABIS FASHION

And after that? It still may be some time before mass distribution of cannabis clothes hits prime time. As weed fashion develops a larger following, companies will likely consider whether its worth it financially to hop on the bud bandwagon. There are already advertising firms focused on cannabis re-branding, in order to represent the plant in a more transparent and less stigmatised manner.

For that reason, cannabis fashion opens the door to a much larger world of cannabis reform. Right now, the fashion industry is still finding creative inspiration in weed itself. Given the size of the industry worldwide, that sounds absolutely on-trend.

 

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