A team of California denim experts are making big moves in the world of hemp fashion.
Earlier this month James Chung and Conrad Yun announced what they claim is the first ever licensed cannabis cultivation facility actually located in LA. And while another legal cannabis grow opening up in California really isn't all that exciting, what they plan to do with their product is.
For many people getting into the booming marijuana market, cannabis flower is likely to be their biggest focus and primary product offering, but Chung said his company is doing something a little different. Sure, the company will be creating a host of CBD—the now ubiquitous non-intoxicating cannabis compound—wellness products, but they're also using cannabis waste products to make high-end jeans.
"Obviously the flowers are extracted for medicinal and recreational use and then you’ve got the leaves and stems and all that," Chung explained to Sportswear International. "Traditionally, you would just throw that all away as waste product. We are going to collect all of that and that’s going to be processed….to [give to] our partners that produce fabric."
While these fabrics are technically made from cannabis, you're more likely to hear it referred to as hemp. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that won't get you high, and it has a long history as a material you can make a whole lot of things from.
Once Chung gets his hemp fabrics back, they're used to make the clothing featured in Chung's new fashion line Alkhemist.
While Alkhemist features tee shirts and athleticwear, denim is the focus of the brand. And the clothing you'll find at their shop looks more like something you'd buy from an upscale basics brand than the hemp hoodies you might find at the local head shop.
Now, Alkhemist's products aren't entirely made from hemp. The fabrics Chung is using for the line are all hemp blends with no more than 48 percent hemp content. And while he plans to move to an entirely hemp-based model in the future, right now he couldn't do so and still offer the quality he's promised to deliver.
"Hemp is great, but we still need to offer the quality, the feel of the premium denim and then be able to inch our way up."
And as far as he's concerned, Chung said it probably won't be much longer before the wider fashion industry begins to come around to hemp-based fabrics either.
"This is the beginning. I can guarantee that hemp is going to be a regular staple in our everyday apparel composition."