Hemp Clothing: How It's Made and Why It's Better For You and the Planet
The hemp industry is a billion-dollar industry annually across the globe. And while you've probably heard plenty of claims about CBD products, you might not be as familiar with hemp clothing.
It is the aim of this article to change that. And maybe even to convince you why hemp is a much better choice than the usual clothes you normally buy.
Don't worry, we aren't going to ask you to start dressing in beige baggy clothes unless you want to. Keep reading to hear how you can choose to buy fabric that is grown in a manner healthy for our environment.
History of Hemp
As mentioned, hemp has been used for many centuries in various different capacities. We already mentioned that it was used on sailboats, but did you know that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both had hemp plantations?
In fact, it is believed that Martha Washington used hemp to sew the first American flag. But hemp didn't originate in America. It was brought here by the early colonists who learned about it from traders who brought it back from Asia.
Unfortunately, hemp has suffered from the negative stigma of being associated with its cousin plant, marijuana. But unlike marijuana, the hemp plant does not get you high. So, why has it not been adopted in more widespread circles?
There are plenty of conspiracy theories out there about how the highly profitable and incredibly leveraged lobbyists of the cotton and timber industry pushed hemp to be included in the marijuana crime bill of 1938.
Regardless of whether or not it's true, the fact is today's lawmakers are realizing that hemp is not the same as its psychoactive cousin and are making changes to allow hemp to be harvested and utilized for its incredible features.
Why Choose Hemp Clothing
We're sure that you'll agree with us that hemp clothing, and other hemp items, are worth investing in. If you like products that last longer, get better with age, and don't harm the environment then you're sure to love hemp clothing.
Hemp clothing holds up to wear and tear very well. In fact, it gets softer with each wash. Additionally, it resists fading and doesn't stretch out after multiple washes. So you can wear your favorite t-shirt and wash it for years without worry about it stretching or fading.
The thread count in hemp items is also much higher than cotton, so it's very tightly woven. This means that sun and UV light can't penetrate your hemp clothes. So if you work outside then long-sleeved hemp shirts will protect you from the sun naturally without chemical lotions.
Hemp fiber is also more durable than other fabrics such as canvas so it's a great choice for tablecloths and other industrial uses. In fact, hemp was used as sails on sailboats for hundreds of years before being replaced by canvas.
As you can see, hemp clothing and fabrics offer many great benefits. And many people love choosing clothing that is sustainable. This is why we believe so strongly in choosing hemp over other fabrics.
How Are Clothes Made From Hemp?
When you buy your clothes from the store you don't always think of the steps included when making each item. With hemp, it might seem confusing how manufacturers can take a tall stalk that doesn't look like cotton and make it into a durable and soft fiber.
But over time, the process of creating fiber from hemp has resulted in a great option that is superior to its cotton, polyester, or canvas competitors. There are six steps to making cloth from hemp. These steps include:
Retting in water
Breaking the core from the stalk
Scutching and separating the raw material to get ready for spinning
Hackling or combing and separating the fibers
Roving to improve the strength of the fibers
Spinning the fibers
This system may sound foreign to you, but this is the tried and true way to make cloth using the hemp plant. Modern machinery can make the process easier and faster, but the old fashioned way is still effective in making a comfortable and durable fabric.
Many manufacturers also dye the fabric to make beautiful clothing in several different hues. For many people, the misnomer is that hemp clothing isn't fashionable but with today's options, you can find very fashionable hemp clothes.
What Makes Hemp Sustainable
You might hear terms such as "organic" and "sustainable" when describing hemp. But what makes it so, and how you can ensure that what you're buying really will help save Mother Earth for future generations. In this section, we'll cover the top four reasons why hemp is much more sustainable than its competitors.
Less Water Usage
Cotton uses as much as 50% more water every growing season. Additionally, it also uses much more water in the production cycle. However, that can be hard to monitor and gauge due to many different production practices for both hemp and cotton clothing.
So, judging solely on growing the plant. Hemp wins in regards to using less water each season. Many scientists are concerned about the lack of available water as more and more of our natural resources are depleted.
This is an important factor to consider as you purchase new clothes. Do you want to continue to support a product that uses more than its fair share of this limited resource? If not, then consider choosing hemp clothing.
Fewer Acres Needed
Additionally, when comparing growing cotton vs hemp, cotton needs twice as many acres to grow enough for one ton of finished fabric. One hemp farmer can produce as much as 1500 pounds of fiber per acre as compared to cotton which is closer to 500 pounds per acre.
The growing season is also much shorter for hemp over cotton. A full hemp crop can be grown in about 70-100 days while cotton takes about 150-180 days. This can be a huge difference in how much of each crop you can grow in a year on the same plot of land.
Hemp also has much deeper roots and doesn't deplete the topsoil the same way cotton does. So farmers don't have to use as much fertilizer to replenish the land as they do with cotton crops.
With more and more people covering more of the planet, our land use is becoming more and more scarce. This simple change to growing hemp instead of cotton will allow farmers to grow the same amount of crops without needing as much land to do it.
Because hemp is naturally a pesticide and crowds out other weeds, it is naturally organic. Pesticides and chemicals aren't needed to assist in the growing of hemp each year.
However, you do need to be sure to check the company you're purchasing from. Many farms continue to use chemically laden fertilizer and claim they're organic because they don't spray pesticides.
If organic farming practices are an important aspect of your purchasing choices, then you need to be sure to examine all aspects of their farming practices.
While we all have our favorite cotton t-shirt that we love to wear on a lazy Saturday, cotton is known to break down over time. This means that your favorite t-shirt will begin to stretch and show wear and tear each time you wash it.
Hemp, however, does the opposite. In fact, it is known to get softer with each wash. And clothes made from hemp last much longer than cotton. So your favorite shirt will last decades and provide many more lazy Saturdays binging on Netflix.
Hemp clothing and other textiles have been used for decades thanks to its extreme durability.
Other Uses of Hemp
The inside of the hemp stalk is incredibly strong and durable. It can be used for creating rope or string. Additionally, any parts of the woody core of the stalk that's not used for textiles can also be used for fuel, building, and paper. Hemp is an incredibly sustainable plant and should be the fabric of choice for discerning consumers.
Now You’ve Got the Low Down on Hemp Clothing
Hemp clothing has many amazing features and benefits. Not to mention it is naturally healthy for the environment. So, if you’re looking for a way to expand your wardrobe while also supporting sustainable practices, then consider checking out clothes made from hemp.
We hope we've convinced you that hemp is a great alternative to cotton and its much higher carbon footprint. To see great examples of clothing that is fashionable and better for the environment, check out our online store here. We're sure that you'll agree with us that choosing hemp clothes is a great way to use your spending dollars to save Mother Earth and show your friends that you want to leave a healthy environment for generations to come.