For centuries hemp has served as a source of fibre. Up until the wake of the 20th century the potential of the Cannabis Sativa species as a fibrous crop had been so prevalent, that even today the terms “fibrous hemp”, “industrial hemp” and “hemp” as such are being used interchangeably. There even were periods in history when a farmer could be prosecuted for not growing hemp – England’s and United States’ growing economy’s hunger for thread, ropes, and ship rigging was insatiable. But apart from playing the crucial role in the imperial war machine, hemp fibre had one more application, one we are just beginning to rediscover: clothing.
Advantages of Hemp Clothing
What makes hemp a superior choice in fabric for clothing? To start with, it is durable and long lasting while retaining comfort. Hemp-made clothes are so durable that they are certainly not a one-season wear. This means that even if they cost a little more than their cotton-made counterparts, clothes made from hemp still make a great economical choice. Adding to this is the fact that hemp fabric not only stands up well to repeated washings, but it also grows softer and more comfortable over time.
Another great quality of the hemp fibre, one whose practical implications are difficult to overestimate, are its excellent breathable and insulation properties. ]It essentially means that hemp clothing keeps you warm and lets your skin breathe freely at the same time, something very few natural materials can do .
Hemp’s antibacterial properties mean that the clothing made from it will be more likely to maintain fresh smell and feeling for a longer time.
Adding to this is one of the most interesting and lesser-known qualities of the hemp clothing – it is UV protectant, so even a thin layer of hemp will keep your skin safe.
But that’s not all! Last, but not least, there’s one more great reason to choose hemp clothing and accessories:
Let’s compare hemp with cotton – currently the most popular and widely used fibre crop. Hemp requires up to 4 times less water than cotton to produce the same amount of fabric. Contrary to cotton, which accounts for a significant portion of the pesticides and insecticides sprayed on the world’s crops, hemp can be grown chemical free, keeping contaminants out of the local ecosystem and out of the final hemp products. Finally, in some regions, hemp can be grown twice or more per growing season, further increasing its sustainability.
Of course, nothing lasts forever. When hemp clothing is no longer wearable it can biodegrade completely, leading to a minimal ecological footprint over the whole life of each garment.4