Even though many people are now discovering hemp clothing, it has been in use since 2,800 BC and is one of the oldest known plants to be cultivated for textile production. Hemp fibres have been used for millenniums to make durable fabrics. Today, Canada is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of hemp and China is the leading producer of hemp yarn and textiles. There are a number of significant reasons hemp is unique and ideal for fabric and clothing production.
There are a number of national and international organizations promoting and monitoring the cultivation and use of hemp fibres. In Canada, we have The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA). The CHTA promotes Canadian hemp and hemp products on a global scale.
Sustainable and Beneficial Crop
One of the main reasons that hemp cultivation has become popular again is the fact that it can have minimal environmental impact. This is because it is a renewable fibre, unlike synthetic fibres, and can be grown quickly in a variety of climates without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Hemp cultivation has also been popular since it needs a minimal amount of water (tolerant to drought) so it’s not necessary to design irrigation systems to grow it.
What’s more, hemp can even enrich the soil it grows by replenishing it with vital nutrients and even absorbing pollutants such as zinc and mercury from the soil. So, it is also used as a rotation crop to revitalize the soil it is grown in between growing other crops.
Hemp cultivation also makes economic sense because of the amount of fibre it produces. Compared to cotton, it produces 250% more fiber and an astonishing 600% more than flax. These comparisons are made when hemp is cultivated on the same land. This means that hemp has the highest yield per acre of any natural fiber.
At Brenda Laine Designs, we only use hemp fabrics that are certified organic. Our fabrics carry Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification. We buy from environmentally conscious manufacturers who produce fabrics that are tested for safety and are skin-friendly.
The Benefits of Hemp Fabric and Hemp Clothing
Hemp is not only great for the environment and our planet but also for us as well. Hemp fibres are similar to linen. Hemp can also be combined with other natural fibers to produce fabrics that are strong and as soft as cotton or bamboo. As a fabric, it has amazing properties which make it ideal for clothing. For example, it is extremely durable, comfortable and with each wash, it actually improves and becomes even softer and smoother.
Durability and Strength
One of the characteristics of hemp clothing that make it stand out is that it is extremely durable. In fact, it is difficult to wear out and tear since it can be up to eight times stronger than cotton. It was often used to make sails and tents. Today, hemp is blended with other fibres like cotton to produce hemp-hybrid fabrics that are strong and soft.
As hemp fabric is made from natural fibers it is breathable and insulating. It is ideal for clothing for hot summer weather or when you exercise since it absorbs moisture quickly (up to 20% of its own weight), keeping you cool. Due to the hollow structure of its fibres, like bamboo, it enables airflow, which also helps keep you warm up in winter since the core temperature of your body works with the fabric to keep you insulated.
Hemp fibres, similar to bamboo, have antimicrobial properties which help eliminate bacteria which cause unpleasant odours. As a result, your hemp clothes resist mold and mildew and smell good much longer than clothes made from other natural or synthetic fibres.
Soft and Comfortable
Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that hemp clothing may be rough and uncomfortable to wear. However, nowadays, hemp clothing is made of extremely high-quality fabric that is as comfortable and soft as cotton. Additionally, most clothing is a blend of hemp and other softer material which make it more comfortable. Additionally, over time, hemp clothing becomes even softer without losing its shape, shrinking, or wearing out.
Protection Against UV
When your clothing is able to offer you UV protection, it is always a great plus. Hemp is considered one of the most UV resistant natural fibres and hemp fabrics are tightly woven so they provide you with a natural UV filter, keeping your skin safe.
Hemp clothing is biodegradable and will decompose without harming our environment since it is made from natural fibres. Unlike synthetic fabrics, it only takes months for hemp clothes to break down in landfills. Synthetic fabrics, however, can take hundreds of years to decompose. What’s more, the petrochemicals used to make synthetic fabrics can contaminate our water.