Photograph Courtesy of Eddie Parker
Staples within people’s closet: a quality black blazer, flattering pair of jeans, comfortable yet stylish pair of shoes…and now an acrylic clutch for one to carry and light a blunt. As marijuana branding expert and founder of Beverly Hills Cannabis Club—Cheryl Shuman—would characterize this new development, “[m]arijuana is like fine wine, fine champagnes, fine cigars”, as it is becoming “more chic to talk about it.” Increasingly, more and more fashion brands have started looking towards the inclusion of cannabis into their products one way or another as the cannabis industry is expanding greater than ever. In 2021, revenue from legal cannabis sales resulted in a staggering $25.8 billion, a value that is up 31 percent from $19.7 billion in 2020 and more than double from $12.8 billion in 2019 (Avin). As fashion brands begin to interrelate cannabis with people’s everyday products, its normalization and de-stigmatization follows closely as these brands now serve as an important ambassador for the plant.
In many corners of the fashion and beauty industry, consumers can note some association of cannabis to some companies’ products. San Francisco-based fashion brand, Cookies, is a cannabis-fuelled clothing brand that have t-shirts directly referencing the plant or a Cookies x Santa Cruz 3-Piece Shredder. While cannabis is not the main sales driving force of the brand, such inclusion of the plant serves to destigmatize it to consumers, as individuals become familiar with cannabis when continually exposed to it when shopping. Moreover, the CBD compounds within cannabis are now commonly implemented into consumer’s skincare regimens where even some brands—like CBD Beauty Corner—dedicate all of their products to contain CBD. Beyond the clothing and beauty industry, cannabis has also penetrated the fashion accessories where handbag brands like Edie Parker have created cannabis based collections. Famously carried by celebrities like poet Amanda Gorman and soccer star Megan Rapinoe, Edie Parker’s clutches have evolved to include lighters for cannabis users. Additionally, Edie Parker’s Flower Collection offers many opportunities for cannabis users to purchase from the brand, whether it be glass fruit pipes, flower rolling papers, or acrylic rolling trays.
Photography Courtesy of Alexander Wang
While such inclusion of cannabis through fashion items may be helpful for normalization of the plant, this development also signals a shift in consumer demographics. Higher-income individuals can begin to take over the cannabis market, as they now wish to pursue it and have the funds to fit this specific aesthetic and lifestyle of luxury cannabis use. Historically, lower-income minority groups have been prosecuted on a more severe level for cannabis use and the changing dynamics of the plant in the fashion industry may further this gap based on income and racial inequality. A $995 Edie Parker Lighter Clutch or $2500 Alexander Wang Weed Embroidered Dress must help to bridge the gaps of cannabis understanding within society rather than furthering the existing divide over cannabis on the political and social field. Therefore, awareness should come hand in hand with further inclusion of cannabis within the fashion industry so that normalization and destigmatization of cannabis can prevail on all levels rather than merely a money making strategy for brands.