If you’re like most people, cannabis and fashion might seem like an unlikely match. After all, tie-dyed T-shirts and Bob Marley beanies aren’t the first things that come to mind when you think of haute couture. But for a growing number of brands and designers, there’s a lot of inspiration (and money) to be found in this newly-respectable plant.
At the New York Fashion Week last fall, designer Korto Momolu of “Project Runway” fame made a major statement with her line of dresses, hoodies, and other items made from hemp. She’s not the only one making connections between fashion and cannabis: Brett Heyman’s new Flower by Edie Parker line features high-end lighters, rolling trays, and pipes that are intended to “bring a much-needed sartorial mindset to a new generation of cannabis smokers,” as she told Forbes.
Even some of the country’s most prestigious retailers are embracing cannabis like never before. Back in March, upscale department store Barney’s launched a cannabis-themed section called “The High End,” where shoppers can browse a wide selection of CBD cosmetics (and perhaps pick up a Gucci-branded ashtray or two, if they’re so inclined).
The crossover goes both ways — lately, cannabis companies have been scooping up former fashion executives in an effort to give their brands a chic, unique vibe. But what’s behind this growing trend?
Studies show cannabis is more popular in America than ever before, and if there’s one thing the fashion industry excels at, it’s turning social trends into stuff you can buy.
Here are five reasons why cannabis is set to make an even bigger impact on the world of fashion in 2020:
Hemp Fabrics Are Good For the Planet
“Sustainability” isn’t just a trendy catchphrase. OK, it’s kind of a trendy catchphrase, but it’s also a big (and growing) business. And while hemp clothes might have a problem right now — mainly, there aren’t enough processing facilities to meet the surging demand — the durability, versatility, and breathability of hemp fabrics means that some bold entrepreneur is sure to find a solution before long. How can we be so sure? Well, there’s a lot of money at stake. The market for hemp textiles was $1.03 billion in 2018, according to analytics firm Fior Markets, and that number is only expected to increase.
CBD Can Help Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
Online shopping may be the wave of the future (and the present, for that matter), but physical locations are still an important way for retailers to build brand awareness and cultivate a sense of prestige around their products. Luxury brands like Saks Fifth Avenue are now adding “CBD spaces” to their stores in an effort to lure in shoppers with the promise of spa treatments, expert tutorials, and — of course — a wide selection of infused products.
There’s a Lot of Overlap Between Cannabis Consumers and Fashion Lovers
Millennials’ taste for cannabis is well-known (many of them use it to help with burnout), but seniors are actually the fastest-growing demographic of legal cannabis users. Fashion brands that can appeal to each group’s sensibilities with cannabis-inspired apparel and accessories have much to gain. According to a 2018 report from commerce company PYMNTS, millennials make twice as many fashion purchases as boomers — but boomers spend a lot more ($172 vs. $101) per purchase.
CBD-Infused Textiles Are, Um, a Thing?
They might be a sign that CBD has jumped the shark, but don’t tell that to the brands churning out cannabinoid-infused sports bras, yoga pants, and other seemingly absurd items of clothing. Are they overpriced? Sure. Could they actually work? Almost certainly not. Will they make a great conversation starter at the bar? Yes, and how!
Cannabis-Inspired Pop-up Shops Are Super Popular
Move over, food trucks — today, the clearest sign that a neighborhood has been revitalized (i.e. gentrified) is the presence of a cannabis pop-up shop. Whether it’s a weekly soiree like the East Village “CBD Happy Hour” from Popped.nyc or a one-off event like Orange County’s “CBD + Hemp Pop-up” from Prism and Svn Space, you’ll find a wide variety of clothes, cosmetics, accessories, and more. It’s fun for the entire family, assuming everyone is of legal age.