When one-time San Francisco-based designer Nick Graham (Joe Boxer) sent a green suit down the runway at the New York Fashion Week Men’s shows this July with a cannabis leaf-printed dress shirt and garlands of fake bud dripping from the model’s shoulders it was a bold signal the fashion industry is starting to embrace marijuana culture in a new way.
A few days later, Ryohei Kawanishi of Landlord accessorized his Rastafarian green, yellow and red-hued collection with subtle cannabis leaf necklaces. Later that day as I was leaving the shows’ central venue in the West Village, I passed a group of attendees waiting for their car and smelled a familiar green dank not usually associated with the fashion weeks, letting me know it was more than just the designers embracing cannabis this season.
As the lifestyle industry continues to join forces with legal marijuana, Graham and Kawanishi are among the designers to feature cannabis motifs in their collections.
For her spring 2015 collection, Mara Hoffman created maxis dresses with cannabis leaf prints, suitable for a cool twenty-something or her equally hip mom. A year later, Alexander Wang caused a stir with cannabis leaf printed mohair coats and dresses with lace cannabis cutouts for his 2016 fall collection — pieces quickly snapped up by Wang-obsessed party girls.
Designer Jeremy Scott has colored the leafy Adidas logo green and used cannabis themes in several pieces for the sneaker company, as well as designing the pro-cannabis tour wardrobe for singer Miley Cyrus, which nodded at her love of ganja in several bedazzled looks.
Speaking of pro-cannabis pop stars, known 420 fan Rihanna has not shied away from sporting cannabis fashion statements or including the occasional one in her collection with Puma, and her new collection for Manolo Blahnik.
Accessory line Edie Parker even gave a cheeky wink to pot culture this spring with one of the brand’s signature pink resin clutches simply labeled “weed” in green cursive script.
On a more functional level, menswear designer Richard Chai collaborated with Pax on a vape pen that was included in gift bags at his February 2016 show. And Demna Gvasalia’s ultra-hot Vetements line also featured a $750 cannabis grinder necklace last fall, a practical, chic accessory for the VIP enthusiast.
As The Chronicle’s New York Fashion Week correspondent since 2013, I can assure you that even just a few years ago the new degree of openness and runway celebrations of cannabis would probably not have been predicted. As the fashion industry in New York and Europe slowly begins to embrace cannabis, California leads the way. Could California’s legalization status continue to lure more shows from New York to Los Angeles?