Hemp Is At The Center Of Fashion, Politics, And Sustainability

Photos of Lizzy Jeff by Kristina Bakrevski

"Everyone wants to be woke, everyone wants to love the earth. And people see the business opportunities, too."

From what seems like the beginning of time, hemp has been humanity's go-to plant, with the fibrous textile frequently used for clothing. In fact, the discovery of ancient Mesopotamian artifacts dating back to 8000 BC suggests it might even have been the first plant cultivated for fabric. And yet, in modern America, hemp-based clothing has been (for the most part) relegated to health food stores and head shops, with little indication that it has any place in the world of fashion—until recently, that is.

With the passage of the Farm Bill this past December legalizing hemp production in the United States after 81 years of prohibition, marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin is due for a renaissance. Although hemp has already garnered some cachet with the CBD fad, the plant has much greater utility beyond a single therapeutic compound (which can be derived from hemp or marijuana—both different types of cannabis, distinguished by their THC content or lack thereof).

Today, a handful of conscious designers and trendsetters are not only rebranding hemp as a fashion statement but are also leading a movement to bring environmental awareness and sustainability into vogue. And for good reason, too: Hemp textiles are naturally hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and resistant to UV, mold, and mildew. Hemp cultivation requires half as much land and water as other fibrous plants, and doesn't require pesticides. Because hemp is a bioaccumulator, it actually purifies soil, helps kill weeds, and can be used in crop rotation, thanks to its short, 120-day harvest cycle. In contrast to cotton (which comprises half the total need for pesticides in the United States), hemp doesn't stretch out, lasts longer, and is much more durable.

Lizzy Jeff In Hemp Silk Kimono By Moon ClothPhoto By Kristina Bakrevski

"If you're a brand creating product in 2019, it's vital that you are creating eco-friendly, sustainable products," says Lizzy Jeff, activist, style icon, rapper, and founder of the Los Angeles-based art curation series Zen & Kush. "Fashion is a form of political expression, so it's important for us to be mindful of what we're wearing and to dress with intention."

With 62 percent of Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana, more people are coming out of the cannabis closet, helping to erase the stigma around both pot and hemp. Of course, the Farm Bill helps with that, as well. "Not only will hemp be trendy, but there's this shift in consciousness now," says Jeff. "Everyone wants to be woke, everyone wants to love the earth. And people see the business opportunities, too."

By 2022, the hemp-derived CBD market alone is predicted to be worth $22 billion—and that only focuses on one element of the plant.

"Both hemp and cannabis are the gateway to not only the healing we need globally, but also to literally shifting culture forward and creating a new paradigm," Jeff adds. "This is a multibillion-dollar business. So many people can use this plant medicine on so many different levels and in so many different forms." Be it as a textile, fuel, food source, construction material, cosmetic ingredient, or dietary supplement (like CBD), there are more than 50,000 uses for hemp.

In collaboration with MoonCloth Designs, which manufactures hemp-based, white-label textiles, Jeff is developing her own personal brand, beginning with a hemp-silk kimono line. "It's our job to bring more feminine beauty into the hemp industry," says Sarah Harf, founder of MoonCloth. "Being eco-friendly doesn't have to come with a design sacrifice." By offering white-label textiles to upscale hotels or brands like Lizzy Jeff, Harf is bringing hemp into the mainstream, reimagining the textile as something more chic, comfortable, and sexy than the old stereotype of hemp-based clothing that resembles formless burlap.

Sarah Harf, Moon Cloth Founder in Hemp Poncho Photo by Kristina Bakrevski

When it comes to trends in hemp fashion, Harf says there's a strong boho influence, while others like Allyson Ferguson, founder of hemp-based clothing brand Seeker, are leaning toward minimalism. "The fabric has so much depth it can speak for itself," Ferguson says. "I took something that normally would be very relaxed and tried to approach it with an elevated design."

And while the market for hemp fashion is somewhat niche, it's only a matter of time before bigger brands begin to incorporate the textile. Patagonia, for instance, already has an entire hemp line, which plays up an old-school, basic aesthetic. "It's going to take numerous brands with some sort of design clout to change the vision," says Ferguson. "Even in the cannabis industry, everyone is like, 'We want more elevated design so it doesn't look like we're just stoners.'"

As more designers embrace hemp, the price point will come down, as well. Because the current consumer base is still fairly small, designers can't yet manufacture at the scale necessary to ensure the market for hemp clothing is economically accessible to those of all income levels. Moreover, it'll take some time for brands to source their hemp domestically, as more American farmers get licensed. For now, those like Ferguson or Harf source their hemp from China or Canada and manufacture their goods in the U.S.

But the proliferation of hemp in fashion will be about more than just greater consumer demand. While the 2018 Farm Bill allocates millions of dollars in subsidies to American farmers, Robert Jungmann, founder of hemp clothing company Jungmaven, says the industry needs large, well-financed investors. "A quarter billion to half a billion is needed to get it off the ground," he says. However, it's not just about the money: "We can't even advertise on Facebook or Instagram if it has the word 'hemp' in it," Jungmann adds. "Hemp is logged in still on social media as a drug, as illegal, and it's not, it's completely different. The whole thing is about educating people, [explaining] no, this isn't marijuana; no, you can't get high from wearing a hemp T-shirt."

That said, even if the hemp plant itself is a more sustainable crop than its fibrous counterparts, consumers still need to be conscientious of where and how their hemp products are sourced. "Whether it's fashion or food, every single choice we make as consumers has an impact across ecosystems," says Jacob Freepons, founder and CEO of Lumen Regenerative Hemp Elixirs. "The whole purpose of regenerative agriculture is to leave farmlands better than when you found it. Hemp empowers small farmers and community, and will be the plant most responsible for reversing climate change."

Be it with regard to fashion or diet, fuel or fiber, hemp can be the gateway to a plant-based lifestyle—and could even begin to help people consider ways to incorporate other plants into conscious consumerism, as well.

However, Ardilla Deneys, founder of Pollima Consulting, which connects manufacturers, designers, and investors to support a circular economy using sustainable materials, says she fears the excitement around hemp—and solely hemp—could lead to more monocropping. Rather than focus on making everything out of a single crop, Deneys advocates for using plant waste as a textile. Innovative clothing designers she's worked with have already used materials like pineapple leaves (Piñatex), citrus fruits, and leftovers from different parts of the cannabis plant that normally get thrown away.

While hemp can help soil capture more carbon, that doesn't necessarily require growing more and more hemp plants. Composting products made from agricultural waste can also help capture carbon, thanks to the healthy soil microorganisms that come with the compost, Deneys explains. "If we can extend the life of all that organic matter we have, create new product from it, and then make it into fertile soil, I see that as being just as good of a solution," she says. "What I see as the real revolution for materials and sustainability is the use of cannabis waste."

Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video)


This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.


Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.


Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.