HEMP Part III: Clothing
Hemp fiber has been “found in tombs dating up to 8,000 years old,” making hemp one of the oldest fibers around. More recently, Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag from hemp fiber and it was used by Levi Strauss “as a lightweight duck canvas for the very first pair of jeans made in California.”
In the middle of the 1980’s, “researchers developed an enzymatic process to successfully remove lignin from the hemp fiber without compromising its strength.” This de-gummed the hemp fiber meaning it could be spun alone or with other fibers to produce various textiles. It also softened the fiber without compromising it’s strength; “This technological breakthrough has catapulted hemp to the forefront of modern textile design and fashion.”
So why is hemp a superior fiber?
- It is one of the strongest and most durable of all natural textile fibers
- Hemp products outlast their competition by many years
- Hemp holds its shape, meaning less stretch
- The more hemp is used, the softer is becomes
- Hemp doesn’t wear out
- Naturally resistant to mold and ultraviolet light
- Hemp is more absorbent meaning once dyed, it retains color better
- Hemp “breathes” in warm weather and warm in cooler weather
I already touched on hemp’s environmental properties, like the fact that hemp is an extremely fast growing crop, “producing more fiber yield per acre than any other source. Hemp can produce 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax using the same amount of land.” These are all wonderful properties of a fiber, especially one that could be mass produced!
So what are your options in terms of clothing? Endless!
Hemp socks, sandals, pants, shorts, underwear, t-shirts, dresses…the list can go on and on!
Here’s a list I compiled of some great hemp clothing providers: