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High fashion gets higher with designs celebrating cannabis

The intersection of marijuana and fashion at one time meant tie-dye shirts, beanies and Birkenstocks. And “stoner style” certainly hasn’t gone away, with no shortage of affordable T-shirts, leggings, flip-flops and more that help the masses wear their love for weed on their sleeves.

But as cannabis consumption becomes fashionable, the world of high fashion is also embracing the plant in subtle and bold ways.

“It’s like pairing beauty and bliss,” said Jacquie Achie, a Los Angeles-based fine jewelry designer best known for her line featuring delicate gold cannabis leafs.

“Fashion and cannabis both inspire a unique sense of empowerment and confidence. With these energies combined, the result is pure perfection.”

During New York Fashion Week for spring 2015, Mara Hoffman sent models down the runway wearing white dresses and pants woven with green cannabis leaves.

Then Alexander Wang sprinkled marijuana leaves across its Fall 2016 line. Actress Margot Robbie wore one of Wang’s designs – a high-waisted black leather skirt embellished with lacy pot leaves – last fall as she hosted Saturday Night Live.

Fashion from the Alexander Wang Fall 2016 collection is modeled during New York Fashion Week, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

There have been articles on marijuana fashion in Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, to name a few. And during New York Fashion Week for fall 2017, website The Hemponair hosted a speakeasy event in Chelsea that drew a fashionable crowd who bid on marijuana-inspired art and accessories.

“Not everyone who enjoys cannabis is the High Times stoner,” said Hemponair founder, Jason Lazar. “A lot of people don’t realize that there are a lot of high-end, stylistic products that are out there.”

Accessories celebrating cannabis are big, too.

Los Angeles-based Lowell Farms made a crown with real cannabis flowers that sold for $60. (Courtesy of Lowell Farms)

A crown incorporating smokeable flowers was deemed a “must have” for the Coachella music festival this spring.

Canadian fine stocking company Strathcona sells a silk eye mask featuring the plant for $56 and socks covered in original cannabis leaf patterns that have been worn by the likes of Solange Knowles.

There are stylish handbags that secretly help cannabis consumers hide their stashes, such as the AnnaBis line from Jeanine Moss. And there are bags that let clients openly tout their love of marijuana, such as a $2,100 snakeskin clutch from Aiche’s Sweet Leaf line.

Aiche said she’s always loved the marijuana leaf as “a symbol of freedom.”

“I saw the happiness it brought to people and was hooked on spreading that energy through my designs,” she said.

Earrings from Jacquie Achie’s Sweet Leaf line start at $440. (Courtesy of Jacquie Achie)

A number of celebrities have worn Sweet Leaf items, but Aiche said Rihanna is her “main muse.”

The pot leaf pops up in other fine jewelry lines, too, including a $995 pair of stud earrings from Established and an $1,190 gold-and-diamond necklace from Sydney Evan.

The scent of cannabis has even been blended – with questionable success – into perfumes.

Then there are accessories that actually help you smoke weed. There’s a 24K gold-plated grinder from Phoenician Engineering that sells for $1,499. And Lazar is a fan of Cannador, a cannabis storage box that borrows its name and design from high-end cigar storing humidors.

The luxury cannabis product segment is getting so big that firms are recruiting models willing to promote them.

The cannabis connection is more subtle for L.A.-based Deborah Lindquist, who’s designed costumes for the Pussycat Dolls, items for celebrities such as Pink and has been featured in many fashion shows and magazines.

Since she got her start in New York City in the 1980s, Lindquist has focused on eco-friendly designs, using sustainable fabrics and upcycling vintage items whenever possible. The practice has earned her the moniker “Green Queen,” with a portion of all proceeds donated to environmental causes.

So Lindquist said it only made sense for her to use fabric made with hemp — a type of cannabis plant bred for industrial uses instead of making people high — as she designs made-to-order wedding and ball gowns, such as a Gatsby-style slip dress made from a hemp/silk blend that retails for $1,800.

“It’s just a great crop,” she said, drawing on her experience growing up on a farm in Minnesota as she rattles off facts about how hemp helps clean the soil and can be grown with almost no pesticides.

Still, she said, “It’s not enough to just like the idea. It has to really look good to work.”

She buys hemp/silk and hemp/organza blends largely from Hemp Traders, a Paramount company that imports the fabrics from China. The fabrics are “nice and soft and drapey” while still being sturdy, she said, taking dyes well and working for a variety of styles.

Deborah Lindquist takes vintage cashmere and adds a “hemp” leaf applique, selling this sweater for $225. (Courtesy of Deborah Lindquist)

Lindquist also has a line of “reincarnated” cashmere. She takes vintage cashmere items and covers the common moth holes with unique appliques — including “hemp” leaves. Then she turns them into updated sweaters, scarfs, fingerless gloves and hats.

While she doesn’t consider herself a marijuana advocate, Lindquist said she supports medical cannabis and feels strongly about the benefits of hemp, even sprinkling hemp seeds on her salads. Plus, she just thinks the cannabis leaf is pretty.

Aiche said she hasn’t gotten blow-back for featuring marijuana in her designs.

“Even clients who aren’t users of cannabis are drawn to the femininity and positivity of the Sweet Leaf line,” she said.

Pushing the boundaries of what’s socially acceptable has long been a calling card of high fashion. But Aiche doesn’t see the industry’s infatuation with cannabis fading as it becomes more mainstream.

“Ride the high, baby,” Aiche said. “I can’t imagine anything cannabis-related will stop growing anytime soon.”


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