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Our trippy collaboration with Broccoli Magazine and Josh Galletly sees the fusion of our favourite things: hemp, art and cannabis culture. Afends Co-Founders and Creative Director sat down with Broccoli Mag to chat about our exclusive collection and mutual love for all things cannabis-related.
Jono: Byron Bay is very intertwined with cannabis culture. We’re very close to Nimbin-the old-school, hippie capital of cannabis culture where they have Mardigrass every year-and Byron Bay is basically the second place known for that. So growing up here, we had a lot of inspiration around.
Declan: We were surfers, and we all grew up smoking weed. When we started Afends, we had these weed references across the products, weed leaves on shirts and things. It wasn’t until we were older and more mature that our morals started to go toward wanting to be involved in protecting the planet and sustainability as a business, to the point where we were one of the first in the industrial area to be on solar. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but ten years ago in Australia, solar wasn't really used, and being sustainable didn’t really fit much of a young market. Using hemp-a cool fiber with this edgy, punk attitude-was a good way to bring sustainability into the youth culture: “Hey, we’ve got a cool product made from weed.”
George: Australia is very conservative; only medicinal marijuana is available and only in certain states. It’s changing slowly, but it’s still a long way behind. We’re trying to shed light on that in our way, so we wanted to do something really fun and loud and champion natural fibers and recycled textiles.
Jono: We’re ambassadors for the whole plant, but it’s the hemp fiber side of cannabis that we really fly the flag for.
Jono: It blends well, it breathes really well, it’s antimicrobial. We get a lot of humidity in Australia, and a lot of clothes go moldy if you don’t take them out and wash them. Recently I was moving house and going through stuff and I had two t-shirts next to each other: a cotton t-shirt and a hemp t-shirt. The cotton shirt was white; it had that much mold on it. The hemp didn’t have one bit of mold on it-it didn’t even smell like mold. It was the first time I’d seen evidence of it actually being antimicrobial. I was like, “It’s true! It’s real!”
Declan: Each climate is different, but the consensus is that hemp uses three times less water than cotton and produces three times the amount of fiber per square acre.
Jono: Afends’ brand philosophy is “question everything,” and hemp’s a really good example of that. Many brands wouldn't touch hemp because it’s more expensive, and when we were first starting, Facebook wouldn't allow us to advertise with the word “hemp.” Even now, I just tried to post on TikTok with our hemp farm in the background, and they said, “This is an illegal substance.” (Which it’s not.)
George: From the beach to the party-you have a nice day in the sun, hang out, then cruise up somewhere fun into the night. With the COVID-19 pandemic going on for so long, we felt really disconnected from being able to go to the beach and hang out at a party. Hopefully, by the time this collection comes out, we can all do those things again. Australians get pretty wild, and especially in Byron Bay, any beach party could turn into a doof.
Broccoli: Wait, what’s a doof?
George & Jono: A beach rave!
Jono: You wear these pieces to an innocent beach day, and then it turns into a crazy doof.
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