If you’re not familiar with Lesley Hampton, it’s time that you become acquainted with this brilliant 24-year-old designer. Hampton, an Indigenous women’s designer, recently released her size-inclusive athleisure line, ROBUST. The best part of this collection? It is inspired by the positive effects of cannabis and how it’s helping people’s mental health.
Hampton is showcasing the full 24-piece line at the StartUp Here Toronto shipping container at Stackt (28 Bathurst Street). The whole athleisure line is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, using macro photography of cannabis buds as the main inspiration.
Hampton tells me that she wanted people who might be browsing through her garments to focus on the plant and draw the connect on how CBD could be used for mental and physical health. “We introduced the cannabis prints because there is so much research on how CBD is being used for mental health,” Hampton shares. “The research that’s happening around the endocannabinoid system, and just so much of my own research into the plant. My inspiration just kind of grew from there.”
The line, offered in XS to 3XL, is the perfect marriage between mental health awareness and body positivity through the lens of athleisure and festival wear. Hampton said she decided to use a close up of the cannabis bud: the complex knotting including the fiery orange and yellow hairs, the sugary crystals, and the rotund nugs, “they’re beautiful, and it worked out really well and they’re all slightly different.” The photos appear on different pieces including a crop top, bathing suit, t-shirt, leggings and sports bra – to name a few. She used the different colours in the bud to inspire the rest of her collection, which has more of a streetwear and festival vibe.
For the rest of the collection, Hampton selected neon colours, mesh, plastics and reflective materials that were inspired by the cannabis pistils. “Because it’s a festival inspired collection, we decided to make some clear see through bags this year inspired by festival safety,” Hampton explains. As she shows me the bag, I think to myself: who wouldn’t want a transparent, iridescent PVC backpack? I mean, it’s one of the things that immediately catches my eye as I walk into the storefront.
Another one of the signature pieces of the collection is the Loud Bomber, which has a reflective pattern built into it it and naturally reacts to the light. Hampton holds up the flash from her cell phone to demonstrate to me sharing, “It will react to car headlights or even a blacklight. You won’t even notice it at first, it’s kind of a nice discovery piece.” The same fabric has also been used in the shorts and cargo pants, depending on your vibe.
Hampton has made it her mission to promote diversity and inclusivity in her runway presentations. Even the name of her line, ROBUST, is to indicate that this collection is for all bodies. “Through my travels, I realize what it was like to be kind of segregated from a community and left to be the odd one out,” Hampton shares. She has tried to apply what it’s like to be different and put it into her fashion line explaining that women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and abilities should have the ability to access her clothes.
For the sale of every ROBUST piece during the month of April, Lesley Hampton will donate $5 to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. To find out more about the collection, visit here.