Weed, but make it fashion: Cannabis brands use fashion to de-stigmatize the plant

When Lana Van Brunt and Hayley Dineen founded their cannabis accessories brand, Sackville & Co., in 2018, there was a gap in the market.

At the time, cannabis companies fell into two camps: they targeted college-aged men – think of the “Rick and Morty” brand with lots of tie-dye and pot foils, or followers of Goop , designed with California feel-good style in mind. . No one was combining cannabis with an avant-garde, high-fashion aesthetic yet. Sackville’s new clothing collection debuting this week is part of a new wave of forward-thinking cannabis brands like Papers + Ink, Houseplant and Edie Parker’s Flower.

Dineen, who studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins and worked for streetwear brands OVO and Yeezy, said she wanted Sackville to appeal to fashion-forward men and women.

“We’ve tried to treat cannabis as something that’s not in the shadows or just in dispensaries,” Van Brunt said. “It has to be something stylish, which you can be proud to display on your coat. We knew design and fashion would be the gateway.

While Sackville sells cannabis paraphernalia like rolling papers, grinders, and pipes, clothing is a big part of the business. Twenty-five percent of its revenue comes from a relatively small selection of clothing, however, Van Brunt and Dineen hope to expand that part of the business. On Thursday, Sackville launches its biggest clothing collection yet in the form of hoodies, t-shirts, sweatshirts and more, under the Greetings from New York banner. The collection will be sold on the Sackville online store; prices range from $45 to $125.

The fusion of cannabis and fashion isn’t just happening in Sackville. Smoking brand Zig-Zag has turned into a fashion and lifestyle brand through clothing drops. Edie Parker opened Flower by Edie Parker, a sub-brand specializing in cannabis accessories like pipes and grinders.

Papers + Ink, a company that makes printed and patterned rolling papers, has also started to embrace fashion and beauty. His most recent collaboration, released in late August, was with Scratch Nails, allowing customers to match their nails to their rolling papers.

Carolyn Chu, founder of Papers + Ink, said she’s also been approached by bigger fashion brands, especially since cannabis was legalized in New York last year.

“A lot of companies I talk to want to explore this world but don’t know how to do it yet,” said Chu, who worked at Rodarte and Odilon. “The buyers I talk to will get it immediately and are very excited, but then they have to get the signature from higher ups and they can be more conservative. Once it becomes federally legal, I think we will see a change. major and that all the big fashion brands will be there.

But cannabis brands face a unique challenge. The patchwork nature of cannabis legality in the United States means that these brands are often limited in how they can advertise. Cannabis is federally illegal and illegal for recreational use in 31 states.

“There are a lot of challenges around marketing,” Van Brunt said. “Basically, we can’t post anything on TikTok without it being taken down. Even on Instagram, we’re very limited in what we can say. We’ve advertised with podcasts, but we’ve been limited there as well. In fact, a podcast lost other advertisers when they found out that we would also advertise there, so that’s a huge headache for us.

Chu echoed the sentiment, saying she had been banned from Instagram more times than she could count. But with the increase in cannabis legalization in the United States, new enthusiasts and organic traffic are emerging. The influx of new smokers has been good for Sackville, which is up 200% in 2021 and 185% so far in 2022.

“We’ve made our website very welcoming and inclusive for curious people,” Dineen said. “It won’t scare you. If you’ve never smoked before, we have blogs and tutorials with lots of tips. It opens the door for people to feel more comfortable.

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