Courtesy of the subject; Eilish: Sam Balaban; Bad Bunny: @Stillz; Scott: Rays Corrupted MindGetty Images
Style Points is a weekly column about how fashion intersects with the wider world.
Kid Cudi was Imran Potato’s idol growing up. The rapper showed him “how to dress, how to talk and act, how and what to smoke,” the designer says. “Listening to him, it just seemed like the world made sense.”
Teenagers dressing like their favorite musical idols is nothing new, of course. But they increasingly want to smoke like them, too. Add to that the legalization of recreational marijuana across 15 U.S. states and you have a market for celebrity- or designer-fronted cannabis strains. And the stage is set, as fashion designers have already spent the past few years pivoting to weed-themed projects: Edie Parker designer Brett Heyman, known for her ladylike acrylic evening bags, made a surprising detour into the sphere with her line Flower (its site bills itself as “a high-end head shop.”) which includes items like a cheery $795 bong made from hand-blown glass. Last year, M Missoni collaborated with cannabis brand Pure Beauty on pre-rolled joints in the Italian fashion house’s instantly recognizable zigzag pattern.
When Potato, whose sly riffs on logos for his brand have been seen on everyone from Billie Eilish to Rosalía to Bad Bunny, got the opportunity to do a cannabis collaboration, he knew he wanted to take things one step further. He didn’t want to just make clothes, he says. “That’d be weak.” Enter Runtz, a weed brand founded by the L.A. rapper Yung LB. Its name pops up in rap lyrics from Future to Lil Uzi Vert, and while on tour with Playboi Carti, LB tells me, “I got that vision that cannabis and fashion just go hand in hand. Everyone in fashion smokes weed, so it just makes sense. I knew that I could easily get it in the fashion people’s faces, and I wanted to get visibility for those creatives to see what’s going on in my world.”
The collaboration between the two was a mutual learning process, says Potato. “They tap into my world with the clothes, but I wanted to tap into theirs as well.” He did so by creating his own strain, touring Runtz’s California grow house and serving as a lab rat of sorts—“I was like a kid in an ice cream shop, trying every flavor”—until he settled on a combination of pink and white strains that, together, taste sweet, like a kiwi. (Kiwis, along with cherries and strawberries, adorn many of the looks in the collaboration.) “I didn’t want to design weed-centric clothing without smoking the right weed,” he tells me. “It’s like asking LeBron to play a game in some Nikes he’s never actually worn before in practice.”
It was also a way for him to do something different aesthetically: “I’m trying to show the world I can do more than just remix old brands.” He wanted to make it feel distinct from the cannabis and fashion linkups he’d seen before, which he found “all look the same,” and are geared to people in their ’30’s and ’40s. “I kind of just wanted to throw a wrench in it, make weed baggies that are shaped like a foot,” he says, “It might be harder for an older audience to accept, but once they see that young people and kids are messing with it heavy, [it might] just change everything.”
Both Potato and Yung LB think that celebrity and fashion-endorsed weed strains will soon become common practice. Just as celebrities are eager to put their names on perfume and liquor, they will flock to the world of cannabis. (Runtz already has strains with a few rappers, including Trippie Redd.) And fashion, they both believe, is likely to follow suit. “I would expect it. I think it’d be weird if it didn’t happen,” Potato says, “I mean, obviously, because it’s profitable, they know they can make money off it. But because it’d just be cool. It’s like an untapped world. I would expect everybody to try to jump on it.”
Yung LB has visions of cannabis fashion shows dancing like sugarplums in his head: “As time goes by, fashion will start to catch up,” he tells me. “Why wouldn’t Virgil want to do it? Imagine smoking weed on the runway at Louis Vuitton. Viral, viral.”
In the meantime, Potato is advertising the collab the old-school way, with a “super sick” billboard on Centre Street that depicts two pot leaves touching one another, Sistine Chapel-style. He calls it “a lifelong dream to have my own billboard after staring at millions of them on the Garden State Parkway.” The collection is available from today at his website and the Runtz site, and you’ll likely be seeing it on some big names on Instagram, too. “It’d be super sick to get to seed to Wiz Khalifa,” he says. “Or Kid Cudi.”
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