A Behind the Scenes Look at Burb's Cut/Sew Streetwear Program

Settled into the burgeoning industrial neighbourhood of East Vancouver, we took a visit to R Ō G WORLD’s facility that hand crafts all of Burb’s cut/sew apparel. The factory acts as one of many creative pulses within the city, creating the heartbeat of Vancouver’s streetwear scene; one that often gets lost amid big east coast hitters in Toronto, and Montreal.

Taking up an entire top floor, the manufacturing space had employees steadily working on a project, careful not to break their attention from their craft. As we moved to the back, garments hung from coat racks featuring custom designs and Burb-branded apparel. Burb co-founder Johnny Kaye and R Ō G WORLD co-founder Todd Dillon greeted each other as old friends, and began their conversation about their symbiotic “cannabis-meets-streetwear” vision.

“We like to think of ourselves as the lifestyle version of farm-to-table: where we design, style, and craft our clothing in-house; representing R Ō G's vision.” -Todd Dillon

Throughout our conversation the word “ecosystem” was something that was discussed plentifully. The ecosystem of the great city we live in, the ecosystem of cannabis, rare genetics, streetwear, and the creative scene in Vancouver. Since its inception, Burb has been committed to working with Vancouver-based artists to create a community that is unmistakably ‘West Coast’.

When Johnny helped co-found Burb in 2018, he knew that Todd would be his go to man for all his apparel manufacturing needs. “We’re day one homies - I’ve known Todd forever, since high school,” said Johnny.

A detailed photo of the factory space where Comfort Collection was made

The process of bringing a Burb garment to market starts with creating the perfect fit. Burb’s team spent approximately 8 months crafting the Comfort Collection. The process moves through various stages from designing the fit, colour testing, tech packs (a technical term involving garment specs for manufacturing), to final cutting, sewing and finishing with labels, embroidery, screen printing and tags. Like many other businesses, COVID-19 put a brief halt on production this past year and Burb had to adapt.

As the saying goes, “with adversity, comes opportunity” and with people having to stay home, the need for comfortable loungewear boomed. What began as a potential threat to the collection, ended in a fortuitous opportunity. After all, the goal was to produce a premium collection made for, and designed by cannabis enthusiasts.

Burb ended up spending one year developing the perfect fits, sourcing the highest grade hemp and cotton fabrics (surprisingly rare and hard to find) and minding every detail to deliver a premium outfit of choice to lounge in, work in, smoke in, and live in.

Burb logo stitched onto a Comfort Collection Crewneck.

While the streetwear scene in Vancouver is thriving, it often goes unnoticed. Albeit a small community, the collections coming out of Vancouver's manufacturing spaces are competitive, forcing brands like Burb to constantly adapt and maintain relevance within the community.

John chimed in as we began discussing competition within cut and sew communities in the city, “competition is healthy - for any industry to pop, you need the pressure from competitors so you can constantly grow.”

Although covid impacted their production, another series of hurdles from the British Columbian government created challenges for Burb. As the first brand of its kind in the city, Burb is feeling the harsh effects of a “no selling apparel to B.C. residents,” policy set in place for cannabis brands. The reason? To deter people from engaging in cannabis use and to reject anything cannabis-lifestyle related.

While Burb is able to sell to customers outside of the province (and around the globe), they're unable to sell to the very customers these collections were designed for. It’s challenging to think that customers are buying cannabis legally with every major credit card, and yet they have to find other means of accessing the apparel.

When discussing the hurdles of last year as 2021 unfolds, it was apparent that these two entrepreneurs were hopeful.

Todd paused before he spoke, “at some point you have to pivot. This year brought in an opportunity to do just that. We took our vision and ran with it in a new direction - something that will be for the better.” In fact, Todd, alongside his co-founder and partner, Rohan Gardiner, will be launching R Ō G WORLD’s lifestyle and cannabis program in 2021. Presently, Rohan oversees procurement for Burb, ensuring the highest quality products possible.

Burb and R Ō G WORLD are creating a community and bringing awareness to BC and Vancouver, one collection and one strain at a time.

The Comfort Collection officially dropped in November of 2020.

By Nadia Bortolazzo
Nadia is an MA graduate and a Digital Content Specialist at Burb. Her writing is guided by her interest in challenging and expanding the ideologies surrounding cannabis culture.