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With a New York Fashion Week: Men's Debut, Sundae School 'Smokewear' Is a Label to Watch - Fashionista

With a New York Fashion Week: Men's Debut, Sundae School 'Smokewear' Is a Label to Watch

The brand aims to make quality apparel and accessories to wear when you’re high.
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Sundae School Chapter 3 lookbook. Photo: Jinwoo Park

Sundae School Chapter 3 lookbook. Photo: Jinwoo Park

While there's no real dress code when it comes to smoking weed, the situational trope generally has to do with being in the comfort of one's own home while wearing the coziest, most laid-back outfit — which, hopes Dae Lim, is provided by his new label Sundae School.

Lim officially launched his "smokewear" line in 2017 (on 4/20, obviously) with an aim to create quality apparel and accessories to wear when you're high. "'Smokewear' for us has been about streetwear," he tells Fashionista. "Let's make the most comfortable T-shirts, hoodies and caps for recreational cannabis consumption."

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Though Lim has no traditional design experience — he studied math at Harvard University to please his mother, he says — an interest in fashion stems from his teenage years. During Lim's college and professional years, he learned the business side of fashion during an internship at Cole Haan, as well as a consulting job at McKinsey with clients from the retail world. Eventually, he started working at VFiles to manage its business development and revenue. The downtown retailer and brand allowed Lim to incubate his idea behind Sundae School, and so the fashion label initially kicked off as a part-time project to explore the sartorial nexus between weed and fashion.

Though the correlation between the two is nothing new (pitches on marijuana-leaf motifs and weed-adjacent accessories flood the Fashionista team's inbox every April), the drug's continued legalization for recreational use has transformed the act of smoking that dank kush into a growing luxury market across fashion and beauty. Plus, over the past year, we've covered the launch of not one, not two, but three newly-launched (and very chic) media properties about weed. For Sundae School, its lighthearted and witty approach through clothes — bestsellers include a "Nightcap" hat with a loop to hold a spliff and a hoodie emblazoned with the phrase "I may not have friends in high places but I have friends high in places" — has garnered fans from around the world and a Highsnobiety Crown award for Best "Under the Radar" Brand. 

Sundae School Chapter 3 lookbook. Photo: Jinwoo Park

Sundae School Chapter 3 lookbook. Photo: Jinwoo Park

During the early days of Sundae School, Lim would evenly split his time between New York and Korea, where most of the label's production takes place. But soon he learned that a majority of sales came from the U.S., as well as Canada and Australia, and recently, the team opened a new office on the west side of Soho to dedicate more time to its strongest customer base. Now Sundae School's brand presence continues to grow after its New York Fashion Week: Men's debut on Monday.

For Spring 2019 (the brand's "Chapter 3"), Lim looked to Korean history and the public scholars of the Goryeo and Joseon ancient periods. "We were imagining a world where these Korean scholars were studying about cannabis and enjoying the different intellectual and creative highs that they experienced through it," says Lim. Dubbed 떨선비 (Ddul-Sunbi), which roughly translates to "Weed Scholar," the brand's first full ready-to-wear collection expands upon "smokewear" to include "smokesuits," inspired by the traditional Korean hanbok dress and made from organza and nubi quilted cotton. 

Sundae School's Spring 2019 presentation at New York Men's Day during New York Fashion Week: Men's. Photo: Imaxtree

Sundae School's Spring 2019 presentation at New York Men's Day during New York Fashion Week: Men's. Photo: Imaxtree

Subtle Sundae School nods still remain: Inside the suit jackets are the brand's signature loops to hold a joint or two; cargo pockets are shaped like cigarette boxes with the phrase "Smoking chills." A hoodie, track jacket and shorts are covered in an illustrated motif by Korean-based artist Yeonbun which, upon closer look, shows Korean scholars smoking while reading, or sitting next to a laptop and a bong. (According to Lim, they're Googling how to pack a bowl.)

Next up for Sundae School are a slew of new retailers planning to stock the brand next year, along with a few holiday collaborations, partnerships and increasing its accessory range. "We don't take ourselves seriously and hopefully that's apparent in our clothes," says Lim. "But what we are serious about is the best experience for when you're high."

See Sundae School's Spring 2019 collection in the gallery below.

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