Two trade shows arrived in the Palm Springs, California area last week — the FashionGo clothing show, and the Hall of Flowers marijuana show.
Guess which one has all the buzz?
Even the women who worked at the FashionGo registration booth Thursday mornings at the Palm Springs Convention Center had FOMO.
“We heard they were dropping people off from everywhere and traffic was reserved on 111 [freeway],” they said of the Hall of Flowers.
Inside the convention center hall, about 100 or so FashionGo vendors were displeased, looking at passersby like high school students at a prom waiting to be asked to dance.
Meanwhile, about five miles to the east, in what was once the Burlington Coat Factory, the Hall of Flowers feels like a cannabis Coachella with a grassy outdoor consumption hall filled with cushions, an on-site pharmacy, food trucks, and an enthusiastic crowd. down to hang in the over 90 degree heat.
California has been at the forefront of cannabis growth and culture for a quarter of a century, and is one of 19 states that currently allow recreational consumption. With an estimated $97 billion in legal and illicit US sales by 2021, consumer cannabis spending now exceeds the figure ($86 billion), according to new research by New Frontier Data.
The premium business-to-business Hall of Flowers event kicked off in 2020 in Santa Rosa, California, before expanding to Southern California, bringing 396 cannabis brands and technology vendors, and 3,400 attendees to Cathedral City on May 4 and 5. (Hall of Flowers has three more events scheduled for 2022—in Toronto, Santa Rosa, California, and Las Vegas.)
Not to be confused with its non-psychoactive CBD cousin, marijuana is all about getting high, so the focus is on interest. But there was some fashion growing at the event, with outfits among attendees including Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags, street wear, sneakers, pot-leaf leis and pot-leaf-patterned bucket hats from the trendy LA Sherbinskis pharmacy on Fairfax Avenue.
As with most trade shows, there’s a ton of swag, from logoed tote bags, lighters, grinders, and paper to hot sauces and non-medicated versions of marijuana gum, all meant to grow a fledgling brand loyal tribe.
Merchandise is an important part of business for pharmacies.
“Cannabis is very culturally driven, and let’s be honest, there are a lot of cannabis companies that do all their marketing through selling bags and T-shirts,” said Whitney Beatty, founder and CEO of Josephine & Billie’s.
Opened last year, a new speakeasy-style pot shop named after Josephine Baker and Billie Holliday, who thinks Jay-Z of Parent Co. as an investor, selling lighter jewelry covers, “Buy Weed From Women” T-shirts and other accessories. front, and—after a visitor has said the password, “Billie sent me” to enter—cannabis products in an elegant 1,500-square-foot space hung by a chandelier in the back.
“We want to be a multi-state operator, and this is what I can sell over the internet until we get to that point,” Beatty explains about using the merchandise to build her brand while circumventing advertising restrictions and laws that prevent the sale of marijuana across state lines. .
“We’ve brought more non-marijuana brands to collaborate because we think that’s the future — it’s about how we can play around in that world and push people into other worlds,” says Beatty.
Several cannabis brands have incorporated fashion into their DNA, including Sundae School, famous for its Lychee Dragon 10 mg THC gummies, Eureka Bullet mini splice — and its Korean-inspired streetwear, including bong-print mesh basketball shorts and patterned t-shirts. with the slogan “Sundanese School: the minimum GPA for matriculation is 4.20.”
Launched in 2017, Sundae School sells marijuana and pivoted three years ago to direct-to-consumer models for its clothing, after several seasons selling to Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and American Rag, among others.
The brand gained traction during the COVID-19 lockdown when it started selling face masks, but it was the fleece that “changed business,” said co-founder Dae Lim, who recently moved to LA from New York, where the Sundae School had featured during New Week. Men’s York Fashion.
“I should have thought about it earlier—our whole concept was smokewear, but when we started, we made more structured cuts,” she says of how the casual outerwear resonates with customers, including her mother.
At Pure Beauty, known for its strong, sustainably grown flowers and cute packaging, exhibitors posted Instagram photos of the emoji-like trademark eye logo, and a large statue of a marijuana cigarette pack in the center of the booth.
Co-founder Tracy Anderson explains how the brand was inspired by Californian artist John Baldessari’s conceptual style, including his 1966 work “Pure Beauty.” “Cannabis is in the Venn diagram with art and fashion… it’s a perspective changer,” he said, noting his brand’s recent collaboration with British streetwear line Aries and an upcoming project pegged to Palace Skateboards.
At the Potent Goods booth, the famous Juicy Couture’s Gela Nash Taylor and her son Travis Nash showed off a collection of fleece-cut hoodies, silk kimonos and shorts with tropical floral and marijuana prints, windbreaker jackets and sweatpants, all with hidden stash pockets, next to pens. their new rosin vaporizer in a matching pattern.
“I feel like it’s in a place where if we were smart, it would be crazy,” Nash Taylor said of the fashion-meet-flower business he started last year with his son, who in 1988 was his baby name. the first brand, maternity denim was named Travis Jeans for The Baby In You.
“Everyone wants the clothes, but we have to figure out how we can sell them,” he said, explaining that there were some restrictions on physical pharmacies selling non-marijuana items. (Like many marijuana laws, understanding and enforcement are a bit vague.) For now, Potents sells on its own website.
“I’ll see if I can try starting old school by getting it at Net-a-porter and Dover Street Market,” added Nash Taylor, rocking a kimono and vape pen necklace, cooling himself with a Potent Goods paper fan and fending off onlookers trying to buy. items from the clothing range, $95 to $250, on the spot.
“Nick Rhodes wanted this one because of John [Taylor] been wearing it all the time,” she said, holding up a set of silk shirts and matching shorts, referring to frontman Duran Duran and his bandmates, noting that they were celebrating the news of their induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame at the Hotel du Cap. -Eden-Rock when he sells marijuana in Cathedral City.
It’s not that he’s complaining: “There’s a lot of energy here—at the fashion trade shows, people are jaded and kind of mean. Here, everyone is quite happy.”