Hemp has had such a bad rap over the last few decades because of its association with illicit drugs, however, industrial hemp is one of the most useful and environmentally friendly materials found. In years gone by hemp was an essential and its cultivation was encouraged by governments. It was use for sail, ropes, military uniforms, parachute webbing and canvases of all kinds. Today it has had somewhat of a revival being used in a variety of products such as jewelery, furnishings, paper, body products and increasingly in the construction industry. However, it is as a fabric in the textile industry that hemp has it most obvious use.
Industrial hemp has many advantages over other crop fibers such as cotton.
- matures in one season
- requires considerably less water than cotton
- is resistant to pest thus requiring not herbicides
- has deep roots which assist in controlling soil erosion
- produces 250% more fibers per acre than cotton and some 600% more than flax
Hemp is classified as an Eco textile meaning it requires less energy, produces less carbon and, therefore, creates less pollution than other forms of fabric manufacturing.
Hemp fibers are very much like cotton fibers only three times stronger and far more absorbent making them perfect for infants and adults. Hemp fibers have a natural resistance to mold and mildew and tests have shown that hemp material, with a close weave, repel up to 95% of U.V. rays while other materials such as cotton, repel between 30% and 90%.
Hemp fabric is more course than cotton but can be blended with other natural fibers such as cottons and silk to produce a soft, durable and fashionable material. Hemp clothing is wrinkle free with the ability to retain it shape after years of use.
When compared to cotton hemp’s porous nature allows it to be cool in summer but its insulation qualities mean that hemp clothing is also warm in winter. Its ability to absorb moisture means that dyes are more effective and are resistant to fading.
It seems like hemp has it all. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for your health and it’s good for your pocket. So why not clothing made from hemp?