Why the Fashion Industry Needs to Get Into Hemp
In this day and age, when fast fashion is what most people turn to for their fashion needs, it may be seen as expendable. However, the truth is being fashionable doesn’t have to be unfriendly to the environment. The key to that is a material that is comfortable, durable, sustainable, and organic all at once. That magical material is hemp.
Hemp has been around for hundreds of years, but only now has the stigma behind the plant become less pervasive, thus people are starting to explore its possibilities once again. Not only are the buds the usable commodity from the hemp plant, but the fibers as well. Not only is that fiber great for making the strongest rope, but also the most comfortable and durable clothes as well.
Let’s take a look at why the fashion industry should really start paying attention to hemp for making clothes. It’s time for hemp to shine, especially now in this day and age when we’re concerned with climate change and finding more renewable resources.
Reasons for Hemp in Fashion
Hemp Absorbs Carbon
First off, hemp has a faster absorption rate of carbon dioxide compared to other plants. Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is one of the major causes of climate change right now. The trends in the fashion industry can affect how clothes are produced and disposed of.
Changing the primary material from cotton to hemp can help with reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by quite a lot. Hemp can absorb 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare, so it’ll likely be better for the environment to cultivate more hemp than the other fibers we’ve been using all this time.
Hemp Clothing Gets Softer Over Time
As opposed to other fabrics that tend to wear out, shrink, and get tough with each wash, hemp is the opposite. Hemp fabric actually gets softer with each wash while resisting abrasion and staying intact. Therefore, hemp clothing actually gets more comfortable over time, and the fabric is actually breathable as well. That means with hemp clothes, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort for fashion.
Hemp is Cost-Effective
Hemp is less expensive to cultivate compared to other plants. Not only can it grow almost anywhere and provides more yield per harvest, but it also doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides to grow. That makes it a lot more cost-effective to grow, not to mention that it also provides more products other than just the fiber.
As a raw material, you can get more out of hemp compared to most other plants. The only other plant that can rival its versatility is corn, and you can’t exactly make fashionable clothes out of corn husks. That makes hemp much better for mass cultivation.
Hemp Fabric is Chemical-Free
As mentioned, cultivating hemp doesn’t require pesticides and herbicides due to hemp’s natural pest-repelling properties. That means harvested hemp barely has any chemicals in it, so you know it won’t be harsh on your skin or your overall health.
Also, hemp is naturally UV-resistant, so wearing hemp clothes actually protects you from harmful UV rays that can cause sunburn and skin cancer. If you have sensitive skin, you should definitely wear hemp.
Hemp is Antimicrobial
Another amazing natural property of hemp is that it protects against harmful microbes. Not only is hemp durable and easy to clean, but it’s also not a germ-friendly environment, making hemp fiber great if you’re concerned about bacteria that causes bad odor and skin diseases.
Hemp is Versatile
As mentioned, hemp is one of the most versatile agricultural products out there. Not only can you make pure hemp fabric with it, but you can also mix it with other fabrics. Hemp blends well with silk, cotton, and even bamboo for various fashion products.
Not only can you make clothes with it, but also bags and other apparel as well. Mixing hemp fiber with other fibers is already a known thing and is becoming more widely accepted in the sustainable fashion industry, so we can only hope that it becomes more widespread.
Hemp is Less Taxing on the Soil and the Environment
Compared to other natural fibers, hemp actually leaves a smaller footprint. But the hemp plant does even more than that. It requires half the land area for cultivation compared to cotton, yet also produces three times the amount of fiber.
Not only does it need less land to grow, but it doesn’t deplete the soil as much as other plants. Hemp fiber is also biodegradable, so it’s not as difficult to decompose hemp products in the soil. Hemp crops can be grown on the same land for many years without need for crop rotation since hemp actually helps replenish the soil instead of only depleting it.
Hemp Needs Less Water to Grow
Aside from needing less land compared to cotton, it also needs less water. Cultivating hemp doesn’t require you to build huge irrigation facilities. As industrialized agriculture continues to deplete freshwater resources, plants like hemp are a godsend due to all its amazing properties that can be utilized without consuming as much resources in order to cultivate it. By switching from cotton to hemp, it will reduce water use by as much as 67%.
Hemp is a Stronger and Lighter Fabric
While it’s a lightweight fabric, hemp is also much stronger. Hemp is the strongest known natural fiber in the world, making it a preferable option for clothing. The strength and durability of hemp, combined with its lightness and comfort, all contributes to hemp clothing that’s easy to wear and will last for a lifetime.
Hemp Grows Fast
As anyone familiar with the hemp plant would know, it grows incredibly quickly, thus you can harvest it much sooner. Combined with how it consumes less resources compared to other plants, that makes it incredibly easy to cultivate and harvest.
Hemp grows well in a myriad of conditions and climates, thus making it a more readily available fiber compared to cotton and other natural fibers. Because of that, it can easily satisfy global demand. Therefore, the sooner it’s adapted by the fashion industry, the better.
Hemp Doesn’t Really Need Dyes
Since hemp fiber is naturally vibrant, you may not need to dye it since its natural color is already quite nice. But if you do decide to dye it, you may find that the dye pops out even more than on cotton or other fibers. However, it can be spun in a variety of different colors without any need for extra dyeing. Also, due to its texture and porosity, it retains its vibrance longer than other fabrics that may fade over time.
Hemp is truly amazing as it has so many qualities in just one fiber. That’s just one of the many reasons why hemp is being called the “super crop” of today. If the global fashion industry does end up fully adopting it, that move can make fashion a lot more sustainable and environmentally responsible.