Hemp Clothing; A Sustainable Choice


Hemp clothing is made from a natural fiber with many amazing advantages, both ecological and personal.

Every piece of hemp clothing begins on the farm, where ecological methods may easily be used. Hemp is a hardy crop, so it can be grown very successfully with no chemical additives. It also grows quickly, providing a great deal of usable material per acre. The fibers used in hemp clothing come from the stem of the plant, so after harvesting, centuries-old mechanical techniques may be used to separated the the strands and prepare them for processing.

In the next phase of construction, hemp clothing has more remarkable advantages. The soft natural color of hemp accepts sustainable dyes easily, and can also be bleached without harsh chemicals. Although many types of fabric can be woven from 100% hemp, it also combines well with a wide variety of natural and man-made fibers for a very diverse range of textures and properties.

When it’s ready to wear, hemp clothing has a lot of personal advantages, too. The fabric has a soft feel and stands up to a lot of wear, due to hemp’s long, strong fiber structure. Hemp clothing is also very breathable and has excellent insulation properties, keeping the wearer warm in cool weather and cool in the summer. Because of the usual natural processing techniques, hemp clothing is an excellent choice for people with chemical sensitivities.

Hemp clothing is so durable that it tends to last for a long time, making it well suited to classic and versatile styles suitable for years of wear. Besides being strong, the material is mold-, mildew-, and microbe-resistant, making it nearly indestructible with normal use. Luckily, it stands up well to repeated washings and never needs dry cleaning, growing softer and more comfortable over time. Of course, nothing lasts forever, but when hemp clothing is no longer wearable it can biodegrade completely, leading to a minimal ecological footprint over the whole life of each garment.

The Hemp Industries Association estimates that the North American retail market for hemp textiles and clothing exceeded $100 million in 2007 and is growing around 10% per year. As hemp clothing becomes more mainstream, customers can choose it for health, environmental and aesthetic reasons. It's a win-win for consumers and for the Earth!

How to care for your hemp clothing:

Hemp clothing is easy to care for and tolerates hot water temperatures well. (Still, choosing cold water washes when possible minimizes impact on the environment.) If your hemp garment has been pre-shrunk, a hot dryer will not harm it. Hemp clothing can also be air dried quickly, for reduced energy usage.

If you get a food or dirt stain on your hemp clothing, put some laundry soap on the spot and let it sit for a few minutes before washing. That is usually sufficient to remove the spot. Hemp never requires dry cleaning.

Depending upon its fabrication, your hemp clothing may need to be touched up with a hot iron. As the hemp grows softer with laundering and wear, ironing becomes less and less critical.