Licensed producers in Canada have always been prohibited from advertising their products to the public—but as cannabis crosses the line from counterculture into the mainstream, one company is developing creative ways to bring its brand to consumers without breaking the law.
Canopy Growth Corporation has dubbed Tweed, one of its three core brands as "the most recognized marijuana production brand in the world", but it doesn't do so lightly: Between its celebrity endorsement deal with rapper Snoop Dogg, countless event and festival sponsorships and even an artist-in-residence program, director of marketing Amy Wasserman said collaborating with creatives has become a crucial part of Tweed's model.
"It's very intrinsically and inherently part of our brand to be supportive of arts and culture," Wasserman told the Straight by phone from Toronto earlier this week.
So when organizers at Toronto Men's Fashion Week (March 9 to 11) reached out to Tweed for a potential collaboration, she saw an opportunity.
"They had become familiar with us and were really interested in the fact that our name is Tweed," Wasserman said, noting that the brand's cannabis varieties Argyle, Herringbone, and Houndstooth also take their names from fashion.
"So we thought, 'What if we did an exploration of tweed, the fabric? Of how monumental it is in the fashion space?' It seemed like a really natural fit for us to explore that community."
Drawing parallels between cannabis and fashion, the industry Wasserman started her career in, she said both have the ability to bring people together, to create community, and to move it forward.
"The way that we looked at this event was no different than any of the conferences or trade shows that we participate in on a weekly basis, but we saw it as a unique way to be celebratory and supportive of this group of people," she added.
She had hoped to round up five designers, but within a week, 18 had confirmed their presence in the show, aptly named Tweed: Fabric of Creativity.
Designers will include Zane Barlas, NICO, Xian, FARLEY CHATTO, Ross Mayer, Get Fresh Company, Pascal Labelle, Candace Daniela, Tristan Licud, JM Trends, Nabeel Sheikh, Jospeh Tassoni, Shelli Oh, Kristian Neilsen, Thomas Henry, Austen Dor, WRKDEPT, and L'MOMO.
Each one has created two specially curated looks for the Tweed show, in addition to designs they'll be presenting at other events at Fashion Week this weekend.
Wasserman says its creative collaborations like this one that have been the secret to the brand's success, but as new regulations for recreational cannabis are revealed to Canadians, she knows that her team needs to be prepared for change.
"I joke a lot right now in the marketing team that it's about coming up with 500 scenarios and hoping that when the regulations met out, that two of them will stick, and then taking those two ideas that work, and creating 500 new ones around that."
If you're in Toronto, Tweed: Fabric of Creativity kicks off at 9 p.m. tonight (March 9) at 1 Yonge Street.