Written by Caitlin Agnew for Fashion Magazine.
Los Angeles-based fine jewellery designer Jacquie Aiche, who founded her namesake line in 2007, is best known for her cannabis-inspired Sweet Leaf motif. “It has come to symbolize freedom, happiness and healing—all in a simple, beautiful form,” says Aiche. The delicate leaf shape can be found in pavé diamond earrings, necklaces, rings and snakeskin clutches, the latter retailing for $2,000 U.S., and boasts a contingent of famous fans that includes Rihanna, Kendall Jenner and activist Bianca Barnhill, who recently wore the diamond studs to the White House. Similarly, Ryley O’Byrne of Vancouver’s Strathcona Stockings has, since 2011, been integrating cannabis prints into her silky Mary Jane knee-highs, which have been worn by the likes of M.I.A., Grimes and Solange Knowles. “For me, growing up and being based here, it felt right to use the plant as inspiration, as I use botanicals heavily in my art and work,” says O’Byrne. “But I wanted to make a more elegant and intricate version of this already familiar motif.”
Framing the plant as a luxury good is the focus of the rebranding efforts of activist Cheryl Shuman. Founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, Shuman calls on her background in luxury eyewear product placement, with stars like Jennifer Aniston and Michelle Pfeiffer, to help normalize the appearance of cannabis on screen and among her A-list social circle. “I would go as far as saying that 70 per cent of the celebrities I know are cannabis consumers or cannabis friendly. It’s such a common thing here, it’s no big deal,” she says. “Justin Timberlake likes it! Cameron Diaz likes it!” Shuman regularly hosts dinner parties prepared by Michelin-star chefs, where each course—plated on fine china, of course—is served with a different strain of locally grown cannabis.
As with connoisseur-level consumption of any artisanal good, like wine, craft beer or coffee, presentation is key. “It really is about the packaging,” says Shuman, who subscribes to the Tiffany Theory, which asserts that the right product presentation can indicate something of class and quality. “With cannabis, you can show that it’s something high society approves of,” she says. “I hate to say it’s an elite world, but, quite frankly, it is.” Accessorizing your habit can be a fun exercise in personal expression, with a growing array of stylish vaporizers, pipes, atomizers and storage solutions to suit every taste. The Pax vaporizer, described by Colorado-based pot style writer Katie Shapiro as the “It vape,” is a sleek USB-charged smoking tool that retails for $360 online and at fashiony boutiques like New York’s Opening Ceremony. It has found fans in everyone from actor Amy Schumer to Toronto’s The Weeknd, who has collaborated with Pax on a limited-edition branded vape (the singer says it “works like a charm and looks dope”).