Sundae School Brings Cannabis Couture to NYC With 4/20 Fashion Show
by India Roby
Taurus season officially kicked off with the most highly-anticipated day for stoners. While 4/20 may be a day for rest and relaxation, it was also reserved to ring in Sundae School’s sixth anniversary in New York. In quite literal “high” fashion, there’s no better way to do so than with stunning clothes, free goodies, and lots and lots of weed.
Held in SoHo’s House of Cannabis right on Canal St., the showcase titled “Let There Be Light” was the brand's first runway show. By 9 p.m. on Thursday, the venue welcomed more than a hundred guests into smoke-filled rooms coming from fog machines and, as expected, weed pens everywhere. The space was divided into two: one for seated VIP guests like Chase Sui Wonders, Ella Emhoff, Davis Burleson, Patia Borja, and more; and the other section for free-for-alls on wavy chairs.
Hailing from Seoul and Los Angeles, the Korean-American, queer-led cannabis and “smoke wear” brand is spearheaded by founder and creative director Dae Lim. After launching in 2017, the rising It-label has become most known for its street-infused silhouettes like candy-colored fleece jackets and kitschy T-shirts co-signed by the ranks of Bowen Yang, Pete Davidson and a slew of other A-listers.
The collection reimagined New York's most iconic staples through a cannabis lens, including the Statue of Liberty and the Prospect Park “Ghillie” suit. On top of its signature casual styles, the all-Korean team sent out elaborate gowns, vibrant graphics, traditional Korean influences, and “cannabis-embroidered couture” pieces that live a similar life to that of Jeremy Scott’s Moschino (but on weed, of course.)
Models, chosen “Honor Rollers” from the open casting calls in New York, smoked lighted joints in between fingers and held jars of bud in hand, which at one point a model spilled on the floor, but nonetheless, celebrate the state’s first legal 4/20 holiday. Each outfit was completed with designer accessories, like Prada bags and statement footwear, sourced from The RealReal.
“We wanted to capture all of the looks inspired by the stoners amongst all different types of New Yorkers, whether it be trash bags of Wall Street or people running the marathon,” Lim told PAPER after the show. “There are different ‘highs’ in the lives of people in New York.” In 33 looks, there are tons of stand-out pieces, and while Lim explains most of the looks won’t be available to shop, there are a few pieces that will, like special-edition outerwear inspired by one of their many viral TikToks.
Sundae School’s creative direction is an act of rebellion despite the Korean community’s more conservative perspective on cannabis consumption. As a result, there was a lot of doubt about the brand’s success in the beginning. “We are at such an important stage of the brand because it finally feels like we have a seat at the table, but not in a pretentious way,” Lim says. “When we first started, everyone was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what is a fashion brand going to do to sell cannabis,’ and then before we knew it, we had such a die-hard community of people who truly rep us.”
By the end of the night, guests climbed five flights of stairs to get to the after-party — a smoker’s oasis with Bloom’s disposable weed pens (I chose a hybrid strain) and vaping stations, plus custom embroidered Merrell beanies and mini desserts from Spot’s lined the walls of the venue’s upper level.
When asked what particular Korean phrase encapsulates his feelings tonight, he says: “There’s a four-letter Korean word 감개무량 (gam-ge-mu-rang), which roughly translates to being incredibly honored and starstruck. I feel this way because of this opportunity, the space, and all of our partners — they’re so amazing. They made this fashion show possible, so I'm just grateful and honored to make this happen.”
Top photo by Sansho Scott