Cannabis continues to collide with fashion — from limited-edition streetwear to high-minded jewelry — but aside from Brett Heyman’s beloved Edie Parker Flower, there are still few industry leaders that have taken a turn into creating tools for consumption.
Enter Armen Gregorian, co-owner and CEO of the former fashion label Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent and founder and past CEO of the women’s ready-to-wear brand A.L.C., whose new line of cannabis products launched earlier this month. Mae, which stands for “Mind at Ease,” features a range of smoking accessories dreamt up by design-world star Joe Doucet, plus a core collection of cannabis oil vaporizers and cartridges; Mae pre-rolls will roll out in California in December.
For Gregorian, who is furthering his two decades of experience in fashion through his latest label Intentionally Blank, Mae is meant to fill the void he personally observed in the cannabis market two years ago when he purchased a popular vape pen from a dispensary down the street from his home in Los Angeles.
“Knowing what I know about fashion and design, I didn’t think this pen was the end-all-be all for luxury and discreet cannabis. So I thought to myself, ‘There has to be a better way to do this.’ And thus, Mae was born,” Gregorian shared via email. “I want to do for cannabis what Dunhill did for cigarettes.”
Mae also retails namesake accessories including a solid battery, an engraved battery, a pen battery and a JUUL case — all exuding an elevated approach to cannabis. Mae’s THC and CBD oil cartridges are odorless — no small feat — via a proprietary mix of terpenes designed to make usage as inconspicuous as possible.
“Cannabis helps put your mind at ease, hence Mae. We thought that we could all share this sentiment, especially these days,” added Gregorian, who replaced his nightly wine habit with cannabis with encouragement from his wellness enthusiast daughter. “I was really into cannabis in the ‘70’s, so when I returned to the plant after refraining from smoking for nearly 30 years, I was floored. It wasn’t the same plant I remembered at all.”
The company is also celebrating the debut of its Mae x Joe Doucet capsule collection, representing the vanguard of cannabis design. Crafted in precious metals like brass, silver and rose gold, it includes six additional Mae pieces (ranging in price from $45 to $395): a pipe, a humidor/stash, an ashtray, a grinder, a clip and a water pipe.
“Joe is one of the most prolific designers of a generation. I knew that if I was going to bring world-class cannabis accessories into the market, I had to tap the right person to design them,” said Gregorian.
Beyond working with global brands like Mont Blanc, Nike and BMW, Doucet is the recipient of a National Design Award from Cooper Hewitt and the Smithsonian Design Museum, among other accolades. Doucet’s collaboration with Mae is his first foray into the cannabis space. He had been approached on more than one occasion to design paraphernalia before, but he either didn’t believe in the product or the people behind it.
“When I met Armen, I was immediately captivated by his vision and passion to create something extraordinary,” Doucet told me. “He could have asked me to create a toilet brush and I would have given it serious consideration. He wished to create something that would make a serious dent in the way people view the category and normalization of what was previously a banned plant. That is the kind of challenge I live for.”
As for where Doucet drew creative inspiration when setting out to design within this new-to-him category?
“I never look for inspiration. Rather, I search for insight,” said Doucet. “Cannabis is something that has previously been relegated to dark rooms and dresser drawers. The insight is simply that people should feel as proud of their cannabis accessories and want to display them as they would a nice bottle of scotch. What a thrill to play a small role in its normalization. I don’t partake often, but when I do, I desire an elevated experience. Why should any experience not be highly designed?”
While Mae will always maintain its core collection of products, Gregorian has plans to collaborate with other designers and brands in the future.
“As cannabis becomes more and more widely accepted and legalized, the rest of the world will follow suit. Fashion labels will be more likely to work with cannabis brands in a collaborative way and the big conglomerates like LVMH and Kering will be looking to purchase successful cannabis labels living in the luxury space.”
Shop Mae accessories online at mae.la and Mae cannabis products, in select California dispensaries including California Caregiver’s Alliance, Clique, Dank Depot, Divine Wellness Center, Exhalence and The Higher Path.