Hemp Chic

May 17, 2023 · Cannabis Now

Founded by Ally Ferguson in 2014, seeker made its public debut in 2016, offering a contemporary and sustainable low-impact wardrobe for modern, conscious consumers. Celebrities including Billie Eilish, Jameela Jamil and Charlize Theron are fans of the sinsemilla streetwear brand based on thoughtful designs and timeless silhouettes.

The name Seeker is a nod to the fashion line’s stated ethos of evolving to be better than what we’ve been, of knowing more, of exposing people to another way of thinking—and being comfortable with your evolution.

 Ferguson first noticed hemp fabrics being used as backpacks and baggy pants in hippie headshops and flea markets. She instantly recognized the potential of the fabric and wondered how to get it out of the “super hippie mindset and elevate it to a bigger consumer population.” That opportunity would present itself while she was consulting for a luxury fashion brand. As words like “organic cotton” and “small batch” entered the lexicon, these natural fabrics became touted as high-end options.  Ferguson witnessed the public’s interest in this new direction grow. Fortuitously, on a trip to a fabric show, she discovered a company selling hemp fabric. The vendor told her it was suitable for making backpacks, but as Ferguson cast her mind back to those old burlap sacks, she had other ideas for the affordable, durable, planet-friendly fabric.

Contrary to popular belief, hemp is luxe and becomes deliciously softer and more comfortable over time. Ferguson decided to make a pair of yoga-esque pants and a jacket, dyeing them rich, luxurious colors. And while they initially resembled those burlaps sacks she remembered, the more she wore the pants, the better they started to look and feel. Ferguson was initially “a little self-conscious about wearing them because I looked at them and thought, ‘Oh, they look like those hippie headshop backpacks,’” she recalls. 

She soon started receiving compliments on her creations. Instinctively aware that she was on to something, Ferguson developed new silhouettes and colorways. As she worked with hemp, the garments started to take their own form.

 The fashion industry is one of the world’s worst polluters and accounts for up to ten percent of global carbon dioxide output. It’s also one of the most water-intensive industries. Since 2020, the industry has used more than 79 trillion liters of water annually creating garments. In contrast, hemp is the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly fabric available. When growing, the hemp plant requires less water than cotton and is naturally resistant to most insects and disease, eliminating the need for toxic insecticides. The hemp plant also replenishes and purifies the soil and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, helping combat climate change. Hemp fabric is naturally antibacterial, odor-resistant and breathable. Hemp’s tensile strength is eight times that of cotton fiber; historically, hemp was used in sails and rope for British and US naval ships.

Sustainability is a crucial pillar of the Seeker brand, Ferguson asserts. All garments are made in a solar-powered B-Corp-certified LA factory that runs off gray water and uses low-impact dyes. The fabrics are organic hemp or organic cotton, the latter of which is knitted five blocks from the factory. Ferguson also plans to create accessories featuring alternative leathers such as pineapple and mushrooms. “I want to make a grocery tote from vegan leather because it’s so durable, and it looks gorgeous. And I think it would wear really beautifully,” she says.

Ferguson was chosen to appear on season two of Making the Cut (Amazon Prime) starring Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (both formerly of Project Runway), which she saw to be an excellent opportunity to inspire younger designers worldwide with sustainable design and influence the greater good.

“It was interesting to be on the show as a sustainable brand; while they were pushing sustainability, they were also mindful of the Amazon customer,” Ferguson says. “They want to open the pathway for sustainability, but they’re not marching down the streets for climate change. Going on Making the Cut and being a unisex hemp wear designer was new for them. They cast me because I’m crunchy, gay, organic and very California—I’m that person. But I think that’s an edge and an angle they wanted to give the world. And that was a huge win for sustainability.”

Ferguson says she believes that hemp fashion is only getting started and predicts that we’ll see more avant-garde hemp designs on the runway imminently.

“From my experience on Making the Cut, I’m seeing people gravitating towards universal outfits—uniforms—but absolutely sustainable and beneficial for the planet,” she said. “I want to see people taking their items after they’re done wearing and putting them in green spins because they’re biodegradable. Once something is worn all the way through its life, people can give it back to the earth.”

Seems like a fair—and stylish—deal. (Full Story)

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