Cannabis industry networking group Women Grow is teaming up with fashion designer Korto Momolu, of Project Runway fame, on a new line of cannabis lifestyle clothing, set to debut during New York Fashion Week next month. Momolu will unveil her line, inspired by Women Grow and its leaders, on the second night of one of the most important weeks for the global fashion industry.
"Through Korto's innovative and elegant collection, our goal is to break through the stigma of cannabis culture and bring to light the health benefits of the plant and value of women leaders in the industry," Chanda Macias, CEO of Women Grow and D.C.-based dispensary National Holistic Healing Center, said in a statement.
Founded in 2014, Women Grow is a cannabis industry networking group that aims to cultivate female leadership in the cannabis industry, as well as reduce stigma to encourage industry participation from a variety of diverse entrepreneurs. Limitations on marketing for cannabis and hemp companies have forced Women Grow to get creative when attempting to share its values, which Macias described as strength, boldness, and inclusivity, and encouraging women to "come out of the cannabis closet."
"This is a whole other venue to get our voices heard and it's almost liberating for someone like me, who's been suppressed and who wants to spread this message and make cannabis mainstream. Now we can spread it through our expression in clothing, our expression in fashion," Macias said.
"I think that what Dr. Chanda and Korto have done is make a statement, not only for fashion, but for the fashion industry, of, 'Look what women can bring,'" added Gia Morón, president of Women Grow.
Fashion may be a newer channel for Women Grow, but Fashion Week isn't the organization's first sartorial dalliance ー or even its first collaboration with Momolu. Earlier this year, Macias, who was a big fan of Momolu's since watching Project Runway, approached the Liberian-born designer about participating in the 2019 Women Grow Leadership Summit in June. Much to Macias' surprise, Momolu was enthusiastic and put together a "wellness and health line of clothing" mixed with high fashion pieces. Macias said the pieces were affordable and practical ー pockets for vape pens, leggings for comfort ー but evocative of the designer's signature bold style.
"She launched this line of clothes which was all for Women Grow. Within two hours the whole line was sold out at Women Grow Leadership Summit," Macias said. "The boldness of this: fashion meets cannabis? Seriously?"
Some of those same pieces will appear in New York Fashion Week, but Macias said the line will be much more extensive, featuring an estimated 30 to 40 pieces when it makes its debut Saturday, Sep. 7. To add to the theme, some of the makeup and textiles used in the line will be made with hemp.
The collaboration will hardly be the first time the disparate worlds of cannabis culture and high fashion have collided. High end cannabis brand Beboe kicked off as a collaboration between Italian online retailer YOOX's ex-President Clement Kwan and tattoo artist Scott Campbell. Cannabis has hit the runway on several occasions, including in 2016, when American fashion designer Alexander Wang stuck those famous fan leaves onto mohair coats and skirts.