Updated: Apr 11
HEMP- The Future of Sustainable Fashion
Hemp is nicknamed the Super Plant because it is much more sustainable and better for our planet than most other fibres uses in clothing.
What is your experience with hemp, have you used it for anything, eaten it or worn it?
If you are interested in the future of sustainability and reducing our impacts on the environment, then you are going to want to keep reading about this super plant.
Hemp is nicknamed the Super Plant, because it is much more sustainable and better for our planet than most other fibres used in clothing.
3 FUN FACTS - Did you know?
1 - The first American flag was made from hemp, sewed by Betsy Ross in 1777.
2- The first draft of the US declaration of independence was written on hemp paper.
3 - It was a legal requirement in the 1600s for farmers in parts of the USA to grow hemp.
Hemp used to be a hugely important crop in the USA, used for many different things, it has been used around the globe since as early as 1200.
Over the past one hundred years, it pretty much disappeared (but is currently making it's come back). So what went wrong?
Due to hemp’s association with marijuana, hemp was made illegal in the USA, as most other countries. But in 2018, there was a breakthrough in the USA, when the government relaxed the laws around growing hemp - Which means that hemp growing is on the rise in the USA.
The USA is now the third biggest hemp growing country in the world, and I believe this will keep creeping up the ladder over the next few years. Consumers are becoming more conscious about the impacts that their purchases are having on the environment. The world is also beginning to give hemp the recognition it deserves as a versatile, fantastic sustainable crop.
“It’s been a long time coming and a lot of people have put a lot of effort in to get [legal hemp] to happen,” said Courtney Moran, founding principle of Earth Law, LLC, a firm that specialises in hemp law.
What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?
The biggest difference is that hemp can't get you high. That's right, despite the stigma around Hemp, It's actually a different type of the cannabis plant to the one used to make marijuana.
There's next to no THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in the Hemp plant therefore it cannot be used for this purpose.
What's hemp used for?
Hemp has hundreds of uses, which are all becoming more popular with growing awareness of our current environmental impacts, and awareness of the plant hemp.
We will write a blog about all of the different uses soon, but in the meantime - Let’s look at the benefits of hemp when used in clothing.
Here is a list of great benefits of hemp - and we will give you further details below on each of them:
Stronger than cotton
Gets softer the more you wash it
Good for the soil
Easy to care for
Ok - let's break them down now to find out what they really mean:
UV Protection - Yes, hemp will naturally protect your skin from the bad UV rays from the sun.
Antimicrobial - Hemp is antimicrobial, which means that it is resistant to bacteria growth. The wonderful benefit of this in clothing is pretty magical - It means that it is naturally odour resistant, so that you can wear your shirts for longer, without smelling! Which is why, we think Hempton shirts are just perfect for travel!
Stronger - Hemp is the strongest natural fibre on the planet - at least 3 times stronger than cotton. So if you’re buying clothes made out of Hemp - you know they are durable, and are going to last! This is why it is well known for its use in rope, in particularly in the shipping industry.
Gets Softer The More You Wash It - YES! Believe it or not, hemp is known to get softer every time you wash it! Unlike cotton and most other fabrics used in clothing, which get less comfy over time, and get stiffer in the wash. See below what Christina had to say about wearing hemp shirts (Hempton Apparel - click here to shop).
Vegan - Hemp is a plant, which is grown naturally. Hemp does not require the use of any animals during any stage of the process (but has many similar natural properties as wool), so you can have clear conscience when wearing your hemp clothes, knowing no animals suffered for you to wear it.
No animals are harmed for hemp
Grown Organically - This is maybe my favourite one - Hemp is resistant to bugs so needs no nasty pesticides AND it regenerates the soil (more on that one below), so requires zero fertilisers to grow! This is honestly just amazing.
Pesticides and fertilisers are really bad for our environment for many reasons. They are bad for the soil, the atmosphere (ozone layer), water (contamination), animals, and they are bad for the people who have to work with them - they can cause awful health issues for people. A plant that can happily grow like this, is definitely the way of the future in my opinion.
Saves water - Just in case you haven't seen the shocking statistics around water usage for cotton clothing, here it is:
1 Cotton T-shirt = 2,700 Litres of water to make.
I find this figure pretty scary. I will still remember the first time I read it. I just kept searching online, trying, (with no avail) to prove it wrong, as I just couldn't take it in and believe it was true.
Well, luckily, there are better alternatives - Like hemp!
Hemp uses less than half of this water amount. So think about all of the t-shirts that are made every day (just think how many you have in your closet), and think about the impact we could have if we could half this, it would be pretty incredible right?
I just want to give you one more statistic to put this quantity into perspective, because most people (like myself), reading this will no doubt have unlimited fresh, clean, running water, and so it is very easy to forget that for many people - that is not the norm.
Biodegradable - 100% hemp is biodegradable - You just need to check if it has been blended with anything that isn't (e.g synthetic fibres), and also check what dye has been used on it before putting it into a compost.
A hemp field.
Good for the soil - Well, this really is magical.
Most plants, such as cotton, deplete the soil they are grown in (use up all of the good nutrients), hemp doesn’t do this, in fact hemp purifies the soil. Hemp produces high quantities of biomass, which returns to the soil and decomposes, giving nutrients back into the soil. Not only that but it also is also able to absorb heavy metals and pollutants (Phytovolatilization):
“Hemp was used to help clean up after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster iN Ukraine in 1986, due to its ability to absorb radioactive toxins from the ground”
Ohhh yes - Hemp is a super plant!
Regenerative - Because hemp is good for the soil, as explained above, it means that the soil can be grown in repeatedly for up to 20 years! This is great, as we are becoming much more aware of the benefits of regenerative farming. We have unfortunately already damaged so much precious farming land which is now unable to be used for farming.
Hemp is good for the soil!
Natural purifier - Hemp also helps our air - as do most plants, by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Hemp just happens to do this faster, and more efficiently than many other plants, such as trees.
“Industrial hemp has been proven to absorb more CO2 per hectare than any forest or commercial crop, making it the ideal carbon sink.” Source: BuzzFlash
Grows quickly - As mentioned above, hemp grows pretty quick in comparison to many other plants which is great for sustainability, and for the release of oxygen /absorption of carbon dioxide.
Hemp being cut down ready for processing into fabric,
"Hemp grows to 13 feet in 100 days, making it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available." Source: BuzzFlash
Moisture Wicking - Hemp fabric is moisture wicking, helping to pull the sweat away from the skin, to help keep you drier when it’s hot and humid out.
Breathable - Hemp is a breathable fabric, so it will help keep you ventilated and feeling fresh when you are in hotter conditions.
Natural Fibre - No synthetics here, no microplastics, petroleum, or formaldehyde. Hemp is a plant, and a super plant at that!
Easy to care for - Hemp fabric can be washed in the washing machine, so it easy to care for. It’s not wrinkle free, but definitely is less prone to wrinkling than some other fabrics. If you have it in a bag or suitcase - just hang it up for a bit and the wrinkles drop out pretty easily. I personally just put mine straight on and have never found it to look wrinkled after an hour.
So that’s it! I was sold as soon as I started reading about hemp, then I wore a t-shirt and I was instantly converted for life. So much so, that I decided to try and make my own brand of shirts using hemp!
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and if you’ve been converted to the fabric of the future also - Head over to our shop to snap some of our shirts up at our pre-order prices for a limited time only - click here to shop.
Thanks for reading! If there are any other benefits i've missed out that you know of, please leave a comment, I would love to hear! Or if you have tried hemp, let me know what you think!
Founder of Hempton.