Owners of Clothing Brand Kush Groove Are Making Their Business Grow

Pot-inspired clothing created by a former Northeastern student is gaining in popularity, and has received some celebrity endorsements.

Mike Pires and

Mike Pires and “team Kush Groove” at HempFest/Photo via Kush Groove

Although the market for medical marijuana hasn’t begun to bud in the Bay State, the retail side of the pot trade has been steadily growing.

At least that’s the case for Michael Pires, creator and owner of “Kush Groove Clothing,” an apparel supply company out of Boston focused on spreading a positive message about overall marijuana use, and changing the perception people have of urban street wear. “There have been some hardships, of course, but people have been receptive to [the clothing brand] in the last year two years. I would say we have sold a few thousand items in the city,” says Pires, a former Northeastern University student who works full-time as a developer and in the real estate market.

When he isn’t talking about home design, Pires is thinking about new products for his line of hats, T-shirts, jackets, and hooded sweatshirts, items that have been embraced by celebrities in the hip-hop community, and have been planted in the hands of customers that attend rallies in support of legalizing marijuana.

Pires says his company started back in high school when he would create custom-made apparel for his classmates. “I wanted to be a voice for city stoners, and change the perception that people had on them about being lazy and unproductive individuals, or criminals based on how the law is defined,” he says, touting his work ethic, and all of the time he has spent promoting and distributing products, which include clothing with the words “Got Papers,” and the company’s logo, or often accompanied with original artwork. Designs are created by artist and friend Rich Gomez. The clothing, whose name is a play on a type of marijuana, is even packaged in see-through plastic bags reminiscent of those used to distribute pot.

“People judge people based off of their appearance, and maybe if people are wearing Kush Groove, some people will know what they are a part of, and know that we worked hard to kick this off,” he says. “It’s just young, positive people who are part of the 420 culture.”

One of the biggest chances to get their name out there and promote the brand, besides it being worn by mainstream rapper A$AP Rocky, is during the annual Freedom Rally and Hemp Fest held on Boston Common. The event brings thousands of people together, and features guest speakers—former Congressman Barney Frank advocated for the legalization of marijuana at last year’s gathering—to further the push to change peoples’ perception about the drug.

This year, Pires will get two opportunities to sell his apparel, after event organizers announced that they were extending their time on the grassy field nearby the State House, and would include an additional day of performances and speeches.

But Pires and his crew, which includes long-time friends Marcus Johnson-Smith and Matt Whormes, hope to move past just pot-related get-togethers, and have their clothing worn by a bigger audience. “I recognized the potential it has right now [with all the discussion about pot decriminalization], and I would prefer to do this the rest of my life, because I could be me and live out my dream,” says Pires. “Our target market will increase as people become more vocal about their alliance with [the concept of] 420.”