Hemp has been used by mankind to make eco clothing since before recorded history. It is thought that hemp is the oldest cultivated plant in the world with uses dating back to the Stone Age.
- Hemp is the greenest material for fabric available as it requires no herbicides and no pesticides.
- Hemp is both biodegradable and nontoxic.
- Hemp is one of the most durable natural fibres that exist with high tensile strength.
- Hemp softens with use and yet remains hardwearing.
- Hemp fabrics dye very effectively and retain colour well over time.
- Hemp garments breathe due to the porous nature of the fibres.
- Hemp cloth stays cooler in warm weather as well as retaining heat in cool weather.
- Hemp clothing naturally stops up to 95% of the sun’s harmful UV light.
The word hemp is English for a number of varieties of the Cannabis Sativa plant, particularly the varieties like “industrial hemp” that were bred over time for industrial uses such as fuel, fibre, paper, seed, food, oil etc. So hemp is not the same as marijuana. It is the same plant but hemp contains very low levels of THC, the psychotropic component of marijuana, and has no adverse effects!
The perception that hemp’s is just for hippies still stands with some of the wider public, so to address this outdated image, manufactures have started to blend it with organic cotton (usually 60% hemp to 40% organic cotton).
The environmental catastrophe that is conventional cotton production is widely known, with issues such as extensive agrochemical use, monocropping and immense water requirements topping the list of unfriendly growing practises. However, organic cotton doesn’t use the cocktail of pesticides and fertilisers sprayed on the conventional version.
While hemp garments are often comparatively more expensive than those made from cotton due to higher processing costs and limited quantities, but its ecological superiority is clear.