When you think of sustainable fabrics, do you think of hemp? Most people think of cotton, even though hemp requires less natural resources to grow, and is more resilient and durable than cotton. Clothing made out of hemp fabric may seem like a new idea, however hemp has been used for hundreds of years to produce strong fabrics in large quantities. It was openly used to create ropes for ships during the ‘Age of Discovery’ when sailors went to explore new territories, however, in 1970, the Controlled Substance Act was created which penalized the cultivation and sale of hemp since it was derived from the Cannabis plant.
However, now, there is less of a stigma around the plant, more and more countries are decriminalizing and legalizing the cultivation of Cannabis, leading to hemp making a comeback in the fabric industry. As consumers demand a more environmentally friendly way to produce clothing, brands such as Patagonia, Tentree, and Reformation are now using hemp to meet those demands.
You might be thinking, what is hemp clothing made of? And how is it produced? Hemp is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, the same plant that produces marijuana. However, it does not have the same effects as marijuna. While some varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant are bred to be higher in THC, the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis, industrial hemp, has extremely low levels of THC and is bred to have high strong fibres in order to be used to make clothing.
Once farmers grow the Cannabis sativa plant, they designate which of these crops will be made to produce clothing, they peel the outer layer of the crop and turn it into a textile material. Once it is removed from the plant, the crop is processed into yarn or rope. This material is extremely versatile, it can be used to make clothing, paper, and canvases.
So, how sustainable is hemp fabric? And how does it compare to other eco-friendly fabrics, like cotton?
With the rising demand for eco-friendly clothing, many brands are now using hemp fabric to meet consumers’ sustainability requirements, here are a few of the top brands using hemp to make their clothing:
Tentree is a Canadian based clothing brand that plants ten trees for every product sold in areas of damaged biodiversity. They use materials such as hemp, organic cotton, and recycled polyester to make their clothing. They sell a variety of different products such as sweaters, tees, hats, shorts, jackets, pants, and accessories.
Patagonia is one of the leading sustainable clothing brands, they specialize in outdoor wear, such as swimwear, camping gear, casual wear, and eco friendly luggage and bags. They use materials such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, and wool.
Reformation is an online clothing store that manufactures their products in Los Angeles factories, paying their workers fairly and in safe working conditions. They are a ‘carbon neutral’ brand that maximizes their green practices, and use materials such as recycled wool, vegetable tanned leather, and hemp.
Unfortunately, the cannabis sativa plant still has a bad reputation as most of the world assumes that hemp and marijuana are synonymous with each other. Stigma and legal regulations make it extremely hard for farmers to grow the plant, despite the environmental benefits. However, as marijuana recently became legal nationwide across Canada and across many states in the U.S., governments are recognizing the sustainability benefits of industrial hemp. Hemp is predicted to become more accessible and mainstream, which has already been seen in the skincare industry with products such as hemp infused moisturizer and hemp oils being sold at different price ranges across many different skincare brands. Hopefully, the clothing industry will follow suit.
Via ÀLA.HAUSSE‘s Multi-functional and Multi-purposeful Fashion Ecosystem- BUY/SELL/RENT/LEND/ (swap BETA 2021) mobile application, INDIVIDUALS & brands (BETA 2021) are encouraged to REBUY, RESELL, REUSE and UP-CYCLE their personal “Closets” aka Clothing Assets, along with overstock inventory and samples. Through this consumerism habit shift we indirectly slow down the urgency on fashion’s carbon footprint, aiding sustainability as a whole.
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