Marijuana images and icons were believed to be introduced and popularized by Kate Moss back in the 1990s. She was featured in the iconic ad with Calvin Klein, which surprisingly went viral in a world where the internet still didn’t exist. From there, it became a trend and slowly managed to create its own niche in the fashion industry.
However, the use of hemp in the clothing industry started earlier than the 1990s and can be traced as far as 8,000 B.C. It was used in Asia and the Middle East as materials used for creating paper and thick textiles used for clothing and for creating sails. Although hemp is not marijuana, they are closely associated with each other, making it easy to relate cannabis fashion with hemp’s history in the clothing industry.
A Dark Era for Marijuana and Hemp
With new technologies that helped ease the production of cotton fibers, hemp began to be a forgotten material in the clothing industry. Cotton gin almost made hemp absolute. And with hemp closely related to marijuana, the press made it easy to create a negative impression on marijuana, pulling hemp together into notoriety. Marijuana was labeled as a dangerous drug, leading to the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, prohibiting all the production, sale, and use of cannabis products, dragging down hemp together with it.
Since hemp’s premature fall, it resurfaced in 1949 as Italian designer Jole Veneziani used hemp as a material for embroidery. This paved way for hemp as a material for high fashion. In 1971, hemp trailblazer was once again in the fashion industry as a material used in belts, woven belts, a popular trend during that era.
Cannabis Art in the 20th Century
In today’s generation, Rihanna’s bold fashion choices in 2013 welcomed back marijuana in the fashion industry. In 2013, the music icon repeatedly wore cannabis leaves in various fashion items – bags, clothes, and jewelry to name a few. Among her favorite cannabis art pieces was a python clutch with a detailed green leather cannabis leaf designed by Jacquie Aiche.
Another music icon, Miley Cyrus, features cannabis as one of her tours. In 2014, she came out on stage with a bedazzled cannabis leaf leotard and a gold chain with a leaf medallion. The tour is known as Bangerz tour clearly serves as an outlet of the artists’ dedication to cannabis.
Cannabis in High Fashion
High fashion didn’t manage to escape the influence of cannabis too. In 2015, Mara Hoffman, one of the proponents of cannabis culture showcased her Spring/Summer collection dedicated to cannabis. The spiked leaf in a muted green tone was featured in the prints of her collection. On top of that, hemp and organic cotton were used as materials for her ready-to-wear and sustainable fashion pieces.
In 2016, streetwear was at its peak. The laid-back style of the designs during this period still had a few cannabis influences in its conceptualization. During the Baja East Fall/Winter Fashion event, military-inspired streetwear featured ganja leaves on the print of their collection. Famous fashion designer Alexander Wang also highlighted cannabis art and culture in his Fall/Winter collection during the same year. He featured cannabis leaves in shearling prints and lace detain, securing cannabis as a significant inspiration for most fashion designs then, until today.
When cannabis art entered the fashion scene, it was featured in different outlets, highlighting its relevance in the industry. Cannabis was featured in high fashion, streetwear, casual wear, tracksuits, fashion accessories including jewelry. In 2019, Gigi Hadid sported a glittering “happy leaf” necklace created by none other than famous Italian luxury jeweler Bulgari during the brand’s Spring/Summer Fashion Week in Milan. The necklace is one of the many high-fashion jewelry lines featuring cannabis art and culture.
Cannabis Art is Here to Stay
Although fashion trends come and go, the legalization of marijuana in numerous states in the United States is another opportunity for fashion designers and artists to explore cannabis for design inspirations and ideas. With so many trends hitting the market today, there are plenty of opportunities for brands and aspiring entrepreneurs in the cannabis art and fashion industry. With plenty of cannabis advocates celebrating marijuana legalization, the trends, accessories, and fad that features the iconic leaf attract people who do not smoke weed.
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