Bryan DeHaven, the owner and creative director of Alpine Hemp Company, has worn many hats in his lifetime. He graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado, owned a successful snowboard shop, was a sponsored skateboarder, and eventually moved into retail merchandising before establishing Alpine Hemp Company in 2017. Having advocated for hemp and contributed designs and sourcing to the Colorado cannabis industry for years, he wanted to create hemp products that fit with his fast-paced athletic lifestyle. In addition to hemp apparel, Alpine Hemp Company makes skateboard decks and is testing out its own line of CBD products.
Alpine Hemp Company will be one of the brands showcased at High Style, Westword's signature event on Thursday, March 5, combining fashion, cannabis and sustainability. Alpine Hemp will have a pop-up shop, participate in one of the two fashion shows, and provide the sustainable hemp gift bags for High Style guests. DeHaven will also be part of the "Cannabis Trends in Fashion, Beauty, & Wellness" panel.
We caught up with DeHaven ahead of the event to chat about his love of hemp.
Westword: Why did you decide to start Alpine Hemp Company?
Bryan DeHaven: I wanted an alternative option for consumers in the hemp apparel space. Everything I found was very "hippie" or "crunchy," as they say. I come from an action sports background and wanted to bring that vibe into the cannabis/hemp market. Alpine Hemp Company is a constant evolution of creativity for me and is my true passion project. I think everyone needs an escape from the monotony of day-to-day life. For me, it's design and adrenaline. They are equally inspiring and fulfilling.
Does Alpine Hemp Company have a specific target market?
Sort of? Our social media following gives us one set of analytics, actual sales give another. If we built an Alpine avatar, it would look like this: male, thirty-something, educated, cannabis enthusiast, spends the majority of his time outdoors.
What are the benefits of making apparel out of hemp?
That is the million-dollar question. I could go on for hours on this topic. Instead, I will just list some hemp textile facts. It is: anti-bacterial/anti-microbial; uses 50 percent less water to grow; is four times stronger than cotton; detoxifies the soil; needs zero pesticides. Hemp plants produce more oxygen and absorb up to four times as much carbon dioxide as trees! It really is a plant that can make a global impact.
Did you always want to offer CBD products as well as hemp apparel?
CBD is in the testing phase for us right now. The market is extremely saturated, and we as a company use CBD daily. We are trying to spread the word of its health benefits, but I wouldn't say it's our number-one priority as a company.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about hemp?
I think hemp still has a negative stigma due to prohibition. Its association with getting stoned and the 420 lifestyle is something the public is slowly moving past. Another misconception is that hemp textiles are rough and scratchy on the skin. I'd put our new hemp blend T-shirt up against any cotton or polyester T-shirt on the market. They are, as I like to say, butter.
You’ve been involved in this industry for over a decade. How have you seen it evolve? What would you still like to see change?
To be more specific, I've been involved with the cannabis market in Colorado for over a decade. Locally, the biggest change I've seen is normalization. My four kids witness consumption constantly. Similar to my dad having a beer at the ballgame, I can have a few puffs while we're out snowboarding and no one freaks out like I'm a drug addict. Now, if I'm in Nebraska with my wife's family, it's a totally different scenario. What's funny is we usually do some serious drinking up there, ya know, cause it's Nebraska, and I'd much rather get a little high and call it a day. What I'd like to see change is the global acceptance of hemp as a sustainable resource. Homes, plastics, auto parts, skin care, food and apparel all from hemp!
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What do you have in store for High Style?
Well...we will be set up next to the bar, so, yeah, that's cool. We will be showcasing some of our latest apparel and accessories at the High Style event. We might even have a skateboard or two in the fashion show — runway canna shred! It doesn't get much better than that.
Bryan DeHaven and Alpine Hemp Company will be at High Style on Thursday, March 5; it runs from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the McNichols Building in the Civic Center.The 21+ event will include fashion shows, presentations, panels, pop-up shops and CBD samplings from a variety of high-end hemp and cannabis brands. Tickets are $30 for general admission or $75 for VIP; find out more at westwordhighstyle.com.