Denver native Jenny Baker-Strasburg?s eyes were opened to cannabis?s healing potential after she moved back to Colorado from New York and was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. When the treatment she was prescribed turned out to be more debilitating than the disease itself, Strasburg?s husband suggested giving cannabis a try. She figured it couldn?t hurt, and through trial and error, she discovered CBD. It felt like a miracle.
Strasburg made it her mission to learn everything she could about the plant, including how to ensure the cannabis products she was using were free of toxic chemicals and were produced sustainably. And she?s using her platform as co-founder of JAM Productions, which creates experiential fashion events, to spread the word.
On Thursday, March 5, JAM Productions is partnering with Westword?the first mainstream media outlet to hire a cannabis critic?to create High Style, a carefully curated fusion of cannabis-infused fashion, education, and wellness focused on style, substance, and sustainability. She and her partner, Mary Spicer, have pulled together an amazing crew of cannabis-industry experts and pioneers from Denver and beyond to help pull it off.
?We?re starting a conversation about mindful alternatives,? Strasburg says. ?High Style is featuring companies that are growing, creating, and packaging items that help you look good, feel good, have fun?and save the world.?
The show will fill three floors of the McNichols Civic Center Building in Civic Center Park with two fashion shows, presentations, panels, and a marketplace where high-end hemp and cannabis brands will show off their wares. There will be passed hors d?oeuvres and samplings of CBD and sprits throughout the event, but?sorry?no cannabis consumption allowed on-site (because, laws).
Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook and Pot in Pans author and Cannabis Kitchen Events CEO Robyn Griggs Lawrence (who is also editor-at-large for Sensi) will show how to make cannabis-infused food, followed by a lively Q&A with Jane West of eponymous global cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West and co-founder of Women Grow (who wrote the foreword to the Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook). Later, a panel of industry leaders will riff on ?Trends in Fashion, Beauty & Cannabis.?
The first fashion show will include the winter collection from Boulder-based Pact, which bills itself as ?the world?s first guilt-free fashion brand? because its Fair Trade Certified clothes are made from 100 percent organic cotton, and the company offers ways to recycle or reuse old clothing, towels, and linens. Portland, Oregon-based designer Erin Colvin will showcase her High Society Collection of handmade jewelry with a subtle cannabis theme and will be selling that jewelry and more at a pop-up shop on the third floor. And, finally, Simple Shoes will represent with basic, comfortable footwear.
Korto Momolu, the Liberian-born designer who was a Project Runway All Stars favorite, will rule the second fashion show of the night with the ready-to-wear collection she created in collaboration with cannabis networking group Women Grow to spotlight the natural intersection of fashion and cannabis, two of the world?s most cutting-edge industries. The size-inclusive collection, made from sustainable materials such as hemp, jute, and cork, with some pieces sporting cannabis leaves and Women Grow logos, will also be available for sale at an on-site pop-up store, and Momolu will be on hand for a meet-and-greet.
?It?s all about inclusion and changing the conversation,? Momolu told Sensi in an interview about the collection last fall after it debuted with a runway show at Pier59 Studios during New York?s biannual Fashion Week. ?We wanted to say, this is what cannabis looks like, what Women Grow looks like, and what Korto Momolu looks like all mixed up in there.?
The Alpine Hemp Company, a hemp apparel and CBD company founded by snowboarder Bryan DeHaven, will provide sustainable gift bags, and a team of stylists from Matthew Morris Salon & Skincare will create hair and makeup looks for the models.
Strasburg, who produced fashion shows and in-store marketing programs for Liz Claiborne, DKNY Jeans, Kenneth Cole, and Laundry, worked with Westword before to produce Whiteout, a fashion show with live music, specialty vendors, and classic cocktails that was also held at McNichols. She says many of the best sustainable fashion companies are based in Denver.
?High Style will feature fascinating companies tackling social justice and leading the way toward sustainability with transparency and best practices,? Strasburg says. ?This will be a fun evening and a safe environment for people to explore this powerful plant.?