As an alternative to other natural materials, hemp may become the king of fabrics. It is considered to be environmentally friendly, non-toxic and grows quite efficiently in many places in the world. Unfortunately, there is very little coverage due to its stigmatic reputation.
What kind of fabric is hemp?
Hemp fabric is an all-natural fiber that comes from a certain type of Cannabis sativa plant grown for industrial purposes. It’s been used throughout human history, up until other fabrics came into the spotlight. It is known for its strength, durability and is non-toxic in nature.
In clothing, it can be soft and elegant like more expensive fabrics while retaining its natural state. Don’t be fooled, because the fibers of this plant are quite strong and can even be used for sailcloth.
Considering that cannabis has a light footprint and grows relatively quickly, it is one of the greenest materials for clothing. It also isn’t harmful to the soil like other commercial crops and can be replanted quickly.
Is hemp fabric comparable to cotton?
Cotton is another natural fiber that dominates the market, and some may argue it’s due to industry politics. Since the 1800s, it has become ingrained within the fashion and commercial products it remained such a huge cash crop for long. Arguably, it is significantly less efficient than hemp.
Hemp has the advantage that it doesn’t degrade as fast as cotton. If it gets wet (like from washing) the fibers get stronger and increase longevity. When it finally does get worn, it gets softer and it may be preferable that way for some people.
Hemp fabric can be used for more than just shirt and light clothing. There was an experimental version of denim made with pure hemp by Levi Strauss. Other durable uses, like wagon covers, were used hundreds of years ago.
Since hemp was made illegal during a time where the economy and clothing demand was booming, it has been stalled worldwide as a major fabric material. In retrospect, it could have filled the niche cotton had while being better for the planet. Having said that, even with the increased acceptance of hemp, cotton demand is projected to grow.
Did you know that cotton is one of the biggest users of commercial pesticides in the world? Fortunately, hemp does not require as much as much farmland and fewer chemicals. It also uses less farmland overall, making it so that less earth will be contaminated in the future.
Another advantage is that your hemp clothing would have taken less water to make than cotton or other materials. Thousands of gallons of water is used to create just 1 pound of cotton while hemp needs up to 10 times less. Since freshwater is becoming scarce worldwide, cotton is one of the crops that need to be reduced.
If the stigma gets detached, hemp clothing may become mainstream and our Earth may have some hope. If you need some high-quality hemp fabric produced at a decent rate, give us a call for a consultation.