Everything to Know About Hemp Fabric

Clothing is a major constituent of our overall personality, and it is true when we say that dressing plays a critical role in the overall appearance of a person. Clothing is one of the four vital necessities for human existence along with food and shelter. The importance of clothing can be very well gauged with the fact that the concept or invention of clothing dates to the ‘late stone age’ wherein extraction of fabrics and weaving textiles had commenced. Wearing fabrics started from 100,000 to 500,000 years ago.

With the passage of time and evolution of humankind, the concept of clothing and textiles have witnessed various transformations. Today, we have a bevy of textiles to select from in accordance with our taste, preference, budget, and occasion. The choice of fabric/textile also depends on the climate of a region, in a tropical climate like India cotton becomes one of the preferred clothing options and silk, linen, tussar, ikkat and many more follows. Brocade, satin, silk fabric is popular among the people living in China. Similarly, Cotton, denim and wool are the most preferred fabric in the US. Italy on the other hand exhibits its affinity for silk, wool, and cotton. So, we see that each geography has its own unique textile preferences.

In the past few years, the textile industry has witnessed disruptive change wherein a lot many people have exhibited their preference towards ‘Hemp’ fabric. It’s very common to think of hemp as an aphrodisiac. Yes, it’s true that hemp does contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound known to produce psychoactive effects in humans. It’s important to learn that the variety of cannabis cultivated for Hemp contains very less amount of THC as compared to those cultivated to produce marijuana or hashish.

The next obvious question that knocks our mind is what does a Hemp plant look like? Well, it’s an aromatic, stout and erect herb that grows annually. The stalks of the plant are slender and hollow leaving aside its tip and base. The leaves of the hemp plant are palmate shape, and the flowers are greenish yellow in colour. The female hemp plants also called pistillate (plant that has only female reproductive part) are known to have flowers that grow seeds in the form of elongate spikelike clusters. The pollen producing flowers are known to form the branched clusters on staminate or commonly called the male hemp plants. 

There has been a significant awareness and liking towards ‘Hemp fabric’ across the globe. This fabric, owing to its varied qualities, has become a preferred choice for many. The next organic thing to do would be to understand the properties of hemp as a fabric that makes it liked and preferred by so many people across the globe.

About the Hemp Plant

First things first, let’s understand the anatomy of the Hemp plant. It’s scientific name is Cannabis Sativa. It consists of 2 layers – the outer layer comprises of rope-like bast fibers, and the inner layer houses the pith which is woody in texture. It is only the outer layer of the cannabis sativa plant that is used in the Hemp textile production. The inner woody layer is generally used in the production of building materials, fuel, and animal bedding. 

After the outer layer of the Hemp stalk is ripped off it is then processed to make rope or yarn and it is so strong that it was used to rig and sail maritime vessels/ships. Now, it is a preferred choice for clothing that is considered much better than cotton and other synthetic textiles available today as a clothing option. 

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Image depicting the raw materials obtained from hemp stems/stalks.

Image Source: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/15/8/6457

The Types of Hemp

It’s critical at this juncture to understand the different types of Hemp. There are majorly 2 varieties of Hemp and its usage varies accordingly. Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa. is the variety that is grown for industrial usage like manufacturing of textiles, rope, food, paper, bioplastics, shoes. biofuel, insulation etc. The other variety known as C. sativa subsp. Indica has poor fiber quality and the female buds of this plant is used for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains: definition, effects, differences |  Leafly

Image showcasing 2 types of Hemp plants.

Image Source: https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/sativa-indica-and-hybrid-differences-between-cannabis-types

History of Hemp

The next curios thing that comes to mind is to learn about the history of Hemp. When was it first cultivated or for how long has it existed and many more such intriguing questions must be hitting our mind. Let’s peek into the history of Hemp and understand some interesting facts of its existence.

As per the researchers engaged in the history of Hemp it is said that Hemp plants first originated in Central Asia and the cultivation of Hemp fiber was found to originate in China in 2800 BCE and was then gradually practiced in the countries situated in the Mediterranean belt like Europe in the early Christian Era and eventually the Hemp cultivation spread across the rest of Europe in the Middle ages. As per the historian data in the 1500s Hemp was planted in Chile and almost a century later it was planted in North America. 

Although Hemp remains from the prehistoric era have been traced to India, Malaysia and Thailand as well but as per the discoveries documented by the Historians China claims that the people in their region produced Hemp textiles as early as around 4000 BC. 

It has been found in the Historian records that in 8,000 BC in Circa Hemp was one of the first cultivated crops. It has been discovered that in the ancient age in the village of Mesopotamia Hemp cord was widely used in the pottery. Across the next thousand of years, Historians have found that Hemp oil and seeds were consumed in the form of food in ancient China and that Hemp was used to make textiles in Turkestan (moder day name) and China.

It will be interesting to learn where industrial hemp originated. As per the researchers, Hemp is a native of Central and Southwest Asia. The Hemp plant is known to arrive in North America in 1545 owing to the influence of the Spanish colonization. By the mid-1600s Hemp was noted as an important fiber crop in the New England colonies. 

After this, it is ideal to understand the history of Hemp in India. The history of Hemp in India goes back to more than 1000 years. As a matter of fact, the Vedas estimated Hemp to be at least 3400 years old and was considered as one of the five most sacred plants. In the ancient years, Hemp was used to prepare nutritional food, natural medication and to make textiles owing to the rich source of fiber present in its stems. 

As per the current scenario, if we see that which country tops the chart of Hemp production in the World then it’s Canada that holds the number one position of producing Hemp next followed by China and then France features. 

A person standing in a garden

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An old image showing a man measuring a 4m high Hemp plant in the Hemp plantation field.

Image Source: https://hempzoo.com/blogs/news/hemp-history

One will be amazed to know that Hemp has played a vital role in the lives of many across continents for more than many millenniums. Well, if someone asks you what is the common thread between the American Declaration of Independence and the Gutenberg Bible? Well, it is Hemp. Yes, Hemp has been in usage for a very long time. 

Hemp has been part of diverse cultures spread across the globe and not only has it been considered as a plant for producing varied types of narcotics but also has been instrumental in making textiles, paper and medication. 

As per the researchers Hemp is believed to originate in Asia as archeological excavations in Japan have shown traces of the fact that Hemp plantation have been harvested there for at least 10,000 years. Although, hemp remains have been found by Historians in India, Malaysia, and Thailand but some recent discoveries have proven that Hemp fiber was used to create textiles from around 4000 BC in China. 

An image depicting the production of Hemp fiber in ancient times.

Image Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=cultural+significance+of+Hemp&sca_esv=587222008&rlz=1C1ONGR_enIN934IN934&tbm=isch&sxsrf=AM9HkKmVeese0-Dz-y0CoVAzD6yysXVpxA:1701495987690&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjogru_hvCCAxV52DgGHabAAwIQ_AUoAXoECAQQAw&biw=1366&bih=641&dpr=1#imgrc=N7KN_07Qy6g-NM

A person carrying a bunch of plants

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An image showcasing activities related to Hemp plantation in the ancient times. 

Image Source: https://hempzoo.com/blogs/news/hemp-history

A sign with a historical information

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An image depicting the production details of products made of Hemp fibers in Kentucky. 

Image Source: https://hempzoo.com/blogs/news/hemp-history

Properties and Benefits of Hemp Fabric

Let’s have a look at the characteristics of the Hemp fabric that makes it so unique:

  1. Highly Comfortable

When we think of clothing the first thing that comes to our mind is comfort and ease of wearing. These are the two major criteria for shortlisting clothing material, aren’t they? Well, Hemp ticks both these boxes as it is very comfortable to the skin and can be worn with much ease and comfort. Thus, hemp has made a place in the wardrobe of many. 

  1. Very durable

One characteristic that makes Hemp standout when compared to other fabrics is its durability. Hemp is 4 times more durable than cotton. If you are in the lookout for a fabric that will not wear out and will last longer then you definitely can’t afford to miss Hemp clothing. If you are someone whose job demands you to be outdoors and exposed to harsh conditions then, hemp is your go to option for clothing. 

  1. Summer and Winter Friendly

What makes Hemp a popular choice is the fact that it’s neither too thick nor too thin. It can be worn with much ease during the hot and perspiring summers and flaunts a flowy and elegant drape. While during winters Hemp garments can be layered up with woolen clothes to create a very classy and sophisticated look. 

  1. Recyclable

The best part about Hemp fabric is that it is recyclable. So, you can stitch as many kurtis, shirts and tops as you want without the guilt of adding to the global waste that is causing damage to the climate. Once you are bored with your Hemp clothing you can easily do away with it. Such eco-friendly clothing options is truly the need of the hour.

  1. Crease resistant 

Hemp has become a popular choice among fashion designers owing to its certain qualities like it crease resistant and not get crumpled easily. The fall of hemp fabric is very good thus making a popular choice for creating both Indian and Western outfits. It’s very easy to maintain so if it gets stained it goes off in one wash. Those who do not like to iron their clothes frequently have found a good option in hemp clothing. 

  1. Harmful UV rays resistant

This quality of Hemp fabric is truly impressive and is one of the major reasons for its growing popularity. It’s very common that clothes lose their luster after much wear. But Hemp fabric on the other hand is known to look like new even after wearing it multiple times. The reason being that hemp fabric is known to absorb the harmful UV rays of the sun and so it does not lose its color unlike cotton, silk and other fabrics. Owing to this property of absorbing the UV rays of the sun, Hemp has become a preferred option for many, especially while going out in the sun. 

  1. Lightweight and breathable

Most of us have a natural affinity towards fabrics that are breathable as they allow the skin to breathe which does not cause body odor. Also, fabrics that are lightweight do not cling to our body and make it comfortable wear unlike fabrics like polyester and nylon. Hemp is a natural fabric thus it’s lightweight and breathable and thus is a preferred choice for those who love wearing comfortable clothes. 

  1. Water resistant

If you are someone who is prone to spill either water or any liquid on your clothes then Hemp needs to be your preferred clothing option. Yes, you heard it right, Hemp fabric can resist water quiet upto an extent. So, if you happen to spill water/liquid or if someone splashes water on you out of fun then you need not worry as you will not get wet. 

  1. Natural colors

If you are someone who loves pastel and light shades in your wardrobe then you are sure to admire Hemp for its availability in natural colors. Although, many designers dye hemp fabric in natural dyes but mostly it’s preferred in its natural avatar for making clothes.

  1. Mold resistant

Most of us face the issue of clothes catching damp and losing its charm and eventually getting teared off if they are kept in the almirah for long. But you can avoid this unpleasant situation if you opt for Hemp clothing as it is mold resistant and will look fresh and new even if you happen to store it in your wardrobe for many days. 

  1. Highly versatile

One of the most adorable characteristics of Hemp fabric is its versatility. As a fabric it has the capacity to blend with its weaker fabric counterparts to create a visual magic. Suppose you wish to wear something that is sturdy yet soft and flowy then Hemp is sure to come to your rescue. You can opt for a dressing that has silk-hemp blend sand its sure to make heads turn. 

How is Hemp fabric made?

Information Source: https://hemp.inc/a-complete-guide-how-to-make-hemp-clothing-material/

The process of making Hemp fabric includes 3 major steps:

  • Cultivation
  • Harvesting
  • Retting

Let’s understand each of the step-in detail:

  1. Cultivation – this by default must be the very first step. The seeds of the Hemp plant are sown very closely so that there is greater yield per acre as the Hemp plants are tall and slender in their physical appearance. 

There are certain critical factors that needs to be considered while hemp cultivating  hemp plantation, the same as are follows:

  • Soil: The core reason why Hemp is becoming a popular choice among cultivators is that it can be grown on varied types of soil. A pH level of 6 or higher and being well-aerated is one of the most important criteria. Along with this, the soil should have the capacity to retain or hold the nutrients and moisture. 
  • Proper drainage is critical for the cultivation of Hemp plantation so ensuring that water does not accumulate ever after rains is a critical factor to investigate otherwise there would be threat to the entire Hemp plantation.
  • Plantation: Hemp is a plant that grows fast and within 3-4 months it reaches its full maturity stage. The farmers in the Northern Hemisphere – Canada, France, US, and others plant Hemp between months of March and May. On the other hand, countries situated in the Southern Hemisphere – Australia, India, China and others commence Hemp plantation in September-November to ensure maximum benefit from the plantation. 

             It’s essential to plant the hemp seeds five feet apart to ensure the best results. 

  • Fertilizing Requirements: 

The versatile Hemp plant has specific fertilizing needs and that is it needs lots of   Nitrogen in the initial 6-8 weeks of plantation when it is in its growth stage. After this, at the flowering stage hemp plant needs good quantity of potassium and next followed by phosphorous. 

  1. Harvesting – the Hemp plants are harvested when they give flowers and that’s the time when the fibres in the stem are the softest. One needs to be aware of the perfect time that is ideal for harvesting hemp crops. The ideal agricultural equipment used for cultivation and harvest of Hemp crops are discbine, straight sickle or a disc mower. 

It is critical to get the harvest time right. The ideal time to harvest the Hemp crop is when it reaches its maximum stalk volume. This time usually comes amidst 90-100 days of sowing the seeds. Interestingly Hemp crops have also been christened as ‘Croptober’ as they are usually harvested in the month of October. 

Harvest is a very crucial step as it determines is the quality of hemp fabric. These 7 days of harvesting are critical in deciding the quality of the hemp fabric.

Even though Hemp is considered as a sturdy plant but it’s important to ensure 50% humidity at the time of harvest and slight breeze is an added advantage.

As mentioned earlier, equipment plays a major role at the time of harvest, so ensure that the tools used by the laborers are sharpened and in proper shape for a high quality harvest as it requires a lot of energy to harvest the Hemp crops. 

Lastly, don’t underestimate the intensity of the manual labor required for harvesting hemp stalks. Many people who do this work by hand typically use machetes, shears, or tobacco knives, all tools that require a great deal of energy to operate. Make sure you’re in the proper physical shape and that your tools are sharp enough to get a high-quality yield! 

  1. Retting – This step is very important in the process of making Hemp fabric and needs utmost attention and care. The Retting process is majorly utilizing the power of micro-organisms so as to break down the stalk of the Hemp plant. It separates the fibres individually from the core and the microbes initiate the chemical process that eventually results in breaking the bond between the bast fiber and the stem which makes them fall from the stalk. 

This step transforms the hemp biomass into the fabric that is designed to create        clothing. So, it becomes critical for the manufacturer to select the right method of Retting that will produce sustainable results. 

There are 2 types of Retting that one can opt for, mentioned below are the same:

  • Field Retting or Dew Retting:

This is a simpler choice of Retting and in fact owing to its convenience it is one of the most preferred choices among the farmers. In field retting the stems are cut or pulled thus separating it from the biomass and then it’s left out in the open to rot. The Hemp farmers pay close attention while the biomass is left to rot to ensure high quality bast fibers.

This process of Retting is not only convenient but also is cheap as it does not require water or any other specialized equipment. The farmers need to keep a close vigil so that the Hemp fibers are not broken down by fungi or bacteria that will not only deteriorate the output but also has the potential to destroy the Hemp. 

Although this process is easy but it’s advisable to not to haste for this option as it’s good option for those living in humid climate as the process needs moisture so that the bacteria can break down and thus ensuring an ideal balance of dryness that prevents the stalks of the Hemp to become too wet for bailing. 

  • Water Retting:

The next option for Retting is known as ‘Water Retting’ and this is the best option if you are planning or already are into large scale production. This type of retting is known to produce high quality and uniform fiber. The other aspect of it is that it is an expensive method and is labor intensive. 

As this method requires the Hemp stalks to be submerged in water for a long duration, you need to be utmost attentive as opposed to the Field Retting method. The choice of water is completely upon the farmer, he can either use water from a tank or he can opt to dip the biomass in a pond or river that is calm. This is a more sustainable process and a way to reconnect with Nature.

Another thing that might act as a constraint is the appropriate knowledge about the quality of the fiber to be produced. Also, the water used in the process needs to be regularly treated and thrown away at regular intervals. Overall, one needs to master the art of treating the Hemp plants properly to yield maximum benefit. 

China and Hungary are the only countries who are into water retting and other nations are staying away from it as it is a costlier process and thus have restricted this process to produce rare specialty. 

4.Combining and spinning 

This last step witnesses everything coming together right from the biomass fiber getting transformed into clothes. Hackling and Spinning are the two major aspects involved in this process. 

Hackling involves combing of the Hemp fibers to get rid of the woody particles that might be hanging on to the plant. The same will ensure that you get soft and smooth output in the form of cloth. 

The ideal way to go about hackling is usage of several combs with varied coarseness types. The level of coarseness should range from wide to thin gaps between the teeth of the combs. The ideal gap is one-half inch or less between each comb. Remember that it’s fine to lose few strands of hemp fiber while combing during the process. 

As a next step once the hemp fibers are smooth and have got ridden of wooden particles the fibers are all set to spin into fabric. This step is completed using a spindle to add a twist to the fiber which enables the fibers to get converted into fabric. 

There are different methods adopted by different manufacturers or producers like opting for either a handheld heavy spindle for manual operation or a spinning wheel.  

Apart from the above-mentioned processes there are countries like Myanmar and China and few other countries follow these processes as a part of the traditional methods:

  • Cooking the fiber of Hemp with wax so that the wax is able to penetrate into the Hemp wax which will reduce the time taken for curing of the fiber and hence providing the required waterproofing. 
  • Washing the Hemp that was treated and then letting it dry
  • Repeating the cooking and washing process thrice and allowing the Hemp to cure for a day and drying it in between each cycle
  • Once the entire cycle of washing, drying and curing is completed the processed Hemp material is ready to take the desired shape of clothes
What is Hemp Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where | Sewport

Image depicting how Hemp fabric is processed to make textile

Image Source: https://sewport.com/fabrics-directory/hemp-fabric

Let’s now look at some other details related to Hemp cultivation: 

How many people are required for the entire processing of the Hemp fiber right from the cultivation to the harvest to the processing of the harvested plants. This knowledge will be beneficial for those who wish to venture into the journey of Hemp fabric production. Shared below are the optimal team sizes as per the acre of land taken into consideration:

Acre of LandNumber of labors
1 acre 1-2 people 
2-4 acres4-6 people
5-6 acresAdvanced teams with mechanical instruments for maintenance and harvest of crop

Information Source: 


Cultural Significance of Hemp in Different Countries:

The existence of Hemp can be traced back to the first ever civilization in ancient Middle east which is also known as the cradle of civilization which is modern day Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq. 

A Brief History of Cannabis – The Herbal Center

The image depicts Hemp plant carved out on a stone that has been excavated from the site of early civilization in Middle East.

Image Source:

It was around 10,000 years ago in the ancient city of Mesopotamia that evidence of the usage of Hemp was found for various purposes like religious, medical, and trading purposes. A lot much evidence has been found in many excavated materials from these civilization sites. It is a documented fact that Hemp was one of the oldest plant to be cultivated in the history of human civilization. 

We will now deep dive into the cultural significance of Hemp in different countries from ancient times:

  • It is very intriguing to learn that the earliest written record found till date of Hemp is that it being used as a medicine in ancient China. The written evidence has been found in the book written by the mythical emperor Shennong by the name of ‘Ben Cao Jing’. Believed to have been compiled from oral traditions of passing knowledge from 200 BC to 220 AD, the book has detailed descriptions of the spiritual and medicinal properties of Hemp. 
  • It was believed that the Hemp herb not only facilitates communication with the spirits but also relaxes the body although taking too much of it might risk one of seeing the devil has been cited in the ancient books. 
  • It is quite evident from the findings that the Hemp plant was exported to the West by the Nomadic trading people. 
  • Evidence have proved that the Greek historian Herodotus had described that in the 5th Century BC the Scythian people who inhabited the Eurasian edge of the western world during their burial rituals would gather inside a tent and throw hemp seeds on red stones that were hot and then take steam bath to purify themselves after the burial ritual was completed. The same is a clear testimony to the fact that Hemp grew on the Eurasian edge of the western world. In fact, it is an interesting fact to know that the Latin word cannabis has its origin in the Scythian language.
  • Historians have found out some amazing facts regarding the relation between language and the history of Hemp. The Chinese had added extra characters for male and female Hemp plants that carries the seeds and fruits of the plant. The same signifies the fact that Hemp held an important position in everyday life. 
  • The evidence of the importance of Hemp has also been traced back to the Old Testament wherein Hemp is seen to be a part of the holy anointing oil that God instructs the prophet Moses to produce.
  • Recently, in the year 2020 researchers have sealed the authenticity of Hemp being used in ancient Isarel when they found Cannabis containing THC – the active ingredient at the altar of a Jewish temple in Tel Arad in Israel. 
  • Talking about the historical evidence of Hemp in Europe, the abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) – a writer, composer, mystic, visionary, philosopher, and a medical writer and practitioner who was active during the High Middle Ages has described the hemp seeds being digestible in her book “Naturkunde” meaning Nature Studies. During this time, Hemp was majorly used in shipping, for paper and textile production. 
Ancient egyptian hieroglyphics carved on a stone wall

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An image of a stone in ancient Egypt with Hemp plant carved on it bears a testimony to its cultural significance in ancient times.

Image Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=ancient%20hemp%20history&tbm=isch&rlz=1C1ONGR_enIN934IN934&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CBwQtI8BKABqFwoTCICR9MOG8IIDFQAAAAAdAAAAABAO&biw=1349&bih=641#imgrc=FgHQVzf-PojOIM

  • At the time of the renovation of a Swedish church in the year 1909, the Historians discovered 5 tapestries believed to be approximately 3,000-year-old belonging to the Viking era some of which had been made using Hemp fabric. It was also found that Hemp was also used to manufacture fine clothing used as burial items.
  • It has been found that Hemp clothing played a critical role in letterpress printing. Gutenberg Bibles were printed in the revolutionary press of Johannes Gutenberg and the paper used for printing the bibles was made from hemp fibers and clothing rags. 
  • Hemp was used in the production of paper for the Bible as they were highly durable papers as compared to the papers made from vegetable pulp that is widely used in modern age. The Bibles were thus more resistant to time in the early ages. 
  • It is an interesting fact to learn that the American Declaration of Independence’s first two drafts were recorded on paper produced of Hemp. However, the final copy was created using animal skin made parchment.
  • Another historical significance of Hemp lies in the fact that Christopher Columbus extensively used nets, ropes and sails made of Hemp in his fleet of ships. The major reason for the same apart from its durability is that Hemp fabric does not get easily moldy after getting damp.

Top companies producing Hemp fabric:

With the ever-evolving fashion and textile industry, the latest trends and preferences are being witnessed at regular intervals. The recent trend that has been observed in the textile industry is the drift of consumer and manufacturer preference towards ethical fashion or eco-fashion. It will be correct to say that this industry is experiencing immense validation and subsequent growth. The latest trend that has been observed in the past few years is that of Hemp clothing and it’s no exaggeration to say that designers and fashion labels are adapting to Hemp clothing and it’s becoming a popular choice among the consumers.

Hemp is one of the oldest known crops to mankind and has many benefits that makes it an ideal choice for eco-friendly fashion. Some characteristics of Hemp that makes it a preferred choice in the eco-friendly segment is that the Hemp plant requires very less water to grow as it is very durable. Also, the Hemp fabric is liked by many because the Hemp fibers are round and smooth so unlike its synthetic counterparts that are extensively used in the fashion industry to create garments. Another advantage that makes Hemp fabric a popular choice for garments is the fact that it does not absorb moisture with ease and stays warm in winters and cool in summers.  So, these obvious reasons have made Hemp textile industry gain popularity and there are multiple clothing brands who are into eco fashion and have an interesting line up of clothing, accessories made of Hemp.

Let’s have a look at some of the Hemp clothing brands that have made a mark of their own in the international market:

  1. Loomstate – is a leading name in the sustainable fashion brand arena. This brand is committed to the cause of eco-friendliness and is known to use fabrics that are eco-friendly in nature across its collections. They offer a plethora of clothing items made of hemp like jeans and men’s hoodies, and manufacture hemp clothes for eco-friendly brands. 
  2. Rapanui – this fashion label has created a niche in offering fashionable hemp clothing for men and women. The brand is a very old player in the Hemp apparel industry. Not only does Rapanui manufactures Hemp clothes but also certifies clothes created by other brands as being sustainable.
  3. Tentree – is a well-known name in the sustainable garments industry and offers varied hemp products right from clothing, accessories, and home décor items. They are a popular choice for hoodies, caps and T-shirts and socks in the US owing to their large offering in this segment. This is a US based manufacturing brand and uses certified Hemp fiber to manufacture its garments.
  4. Stella McCartney – is an acclaimed brand for innovative use of materials that are eco-friendly in nature, including Hemp. This brand is known for its commitment towards sustainable fashion and supporting ethical fair-trade practices.
  5. Weekend Max Mara – is a high-end Italian fashion line that has added some beautiful blouses and skirts to its collection as a step towards supporting sustainable fashion. 
  6. Coyuchi is known for its clothing line that offers classic designs made of Hemp fabric. They manufacture their garments in the US where Hemp is produced by other local businesses. Their breathable, comfortable, and light clothing is very much liked by the people.
  7. Mara Hoffman – is a clothing brand that carved a niche for itself in the animal-friendly segment for more than 20 years. She has also introduced clothing made of Hemp thus making her a responsible player in the clothing industry.
  8. Kuhl – is a brand in the sustainable clothing industry that manufactures unisex clothing using Hemp. It uses hemp as it’s produced locally, is easy to use and is mold resistant along with it it’s also durable and is a comfortable clothing option. 
  9. Nike – the popular sports brand is known to offer athletic wear made of Hemp. They have mastered the art of sustainable clothing by maintaining the comfort and performance of a traditional sportwear and using sustainable material to help protect the environment. Nike’s collection includes T-shirts, running shorts, sweatpants and all are made of Hemp.
  10. Matt & Nat – is a designer brand that offers vegan leather bags and has an exclusive line of Hemp collection of belts, bags and shoes that are both stylish and committed towards protecting the environment. 
  11. Hempy’s.com – is a fashion brand that offers products that are exclusively made of Hemp. Their diverse offerings include T-shirts, Beanies, jeans that are simply gorgeous and wins everyone’s heart. 
  12. Hemp Blue – is a fashion clothing brand that is known for its stylish denim range that is made of Hemp and interestingly they use organic cotton for finishing the process. 
  13. The Hemp Store – is known for offering a wide array of fashion garments, fashion and bath accessories and home décor made of Hemp. Their collection includes shirts, hats, home décor items and bath towels, etc.  in different styles and sizes.

The Hemp Textile Market – Landscape and Forecast

Recent research on the Global Clothing Market Size projected that the global hemp clothing market size will reach $23.02 billion by 2031, with a growth rate – CAGR of 27.1% from 2022 to 2031. 

The above statement is a big indicator that sustainable clothing is shaping up in a big way and that Hemp textile market is all set to witness the much-deserved boom soon. There is a big reason that facilitates the growth and popularity of Hemp clothing worldwide. Firstly, it has immense environmentally friendly benefits and is a comfortable clothing option as it keeps you cool in summers and provides warmth in the winters. 

Before deep diving into the varied aspects of the Hemp market landscape and forecast, let’s first understand the segmentation of the Hemp based on its sourcing, regional production and application, shared below is the same:

By Source

  • Conventional
  • Organic

By Region

  • North America
  • U.S.
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Europe
  • France
  • UK
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Russia
  • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • China
  • Japan
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa
  • GCC
  • North Africa
  • South Africa
  • Rest of the Middle East & Africa
  • Latin America
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Rest of Latin America

By Application

  • Textiles
  • Paper Manufacturing
  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Biodegradable Plastics
  • Others
Sustainability 15 06457 g005 550

The image depicting hemp seed-based food items

Image Source: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/15/8/6457

The Hemp plant needs very little water to grow and does not need harmful fertilizers, chemicals and pesticides which helps in environmental conservation. It also grows very quickly thus making it a renewable source. It has been witnessed that the maximum contribution to the growth of Hemp market comes from the textile segment but owing to its eco- friendly and non-usage of properties, Hemp is also used in other industries as well. 

Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region with regards to Hemp market size and is expected to increase in the coming years. The reason for the growth is attributed to the expanding global demand for Hemp from Asia and the ease of availability of raw resources to produce the desired Hemp products. 

As per recent studies the global market size of industrial Hemp was valued at USD 4.5 Billion in 2021 and is predicted to reach USD 17.24 Billion by 2030 which indicates that the market may witness a significant rise of 16.9%

The Industrial Hemp scientific name is Cannabis sativa cultivar is used for producing a wide array of products like oil, seeds, fiber and these being biodegradable in nature are used in the production of textiles, personal care items, animal feed as they are also high in nutritional content. Industrial Hemp is becoming a popular plant as its biggest advantage being it is fast growing, is renewable raw material for plastic, paper and fuel.

Approximately 32% of global Hemp sales come from Asia Pacific. India, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, Thailand, and New Zealand are the major producers and consumers of Industrial Hemp along with Hemp oil, hurds. Seeds and fiber. 

Although, there has been a significant increase in the interest and utilization of Hemp fiber for commercial and industrial purposes across the global geography but there remain significant hurdles related to intricate legislative frameworks, policies, and fund acquisition. Despite these challenges, the Hemp industry projects itself as promising and highly growth oriented. 

There is multiple research that are on going in the field of Hemp and it suggests that the utilization of Hemp in various applications will significantly increase its growth in the forthcoming years, although the Hemp fiber processing involves high labor costs, suboptimal yields and lacks quality control that increases the overall cost of Hemp and poses as a restricting factor. 

The Hemp fiber is sure to witness a significant growth owing to the increasing preference for natural fiber. The trend is garnering attention mainly because of certain factors associated with it which are related to ecological considerations, legislative mandates, and advancements in technology. Hemp fabric has gained immense popularity amongst designers from across the globe and the same is a huge indicator of its growth. 

One of the major difficulties faced by small businesses and farmers for growing Hemp and further processing for sale is the limited access to the processing facilities. Investment, research, and development of supply chain are the key factors that will help accelerate the growth of the Hemp fiber market. The growers and processors of Hemp must adhere to the compliance policies, regulations, certifications related to Hemp production and sale. Although, the regulations do tend to act as hurdles in the rapid growth of the Hemp industry. 

Let us next understand the segmentation of the Hemp fiber market based on source, application, and geography.

Based on sourcing Hemp, it is divided into two categories:

  • Conventional – natural growers use synthetic fertilizer to grow their crops. conventional farming is that conventional farming relies on chemical intervention to fight pests and weeds and provide plant nutrition. That means synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Conventional agriculture causes increased greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, water pollution, and threatens human health.
  • Organic – this segment is the fastest growing and is set to witness a huge boom soon. The major reason for the same being the growing preference for using organic products among consumers across the globe. 

Based on the source, the market is divided into conventional and organic sources. The organic segment is the fastest-growing segment in 2022 and is expected to continue to do so over the forecast period. The primary factor driving the growth of the hemp fiber market is the growing preference for organic products among customers all over the world.  

Organic hemp fiber is all set to replace conventional hemp fibers owing to its accelerating application in engineering, automobile, aerospace, and construction due to their low cost, and relatively good mechanical properties, particularly tensile and flexural properties.

Geographical Analysis

The Hemp fiber market has been categorized as per its geography which includes Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, MEA, and Latin America. 

Out of all the regions, the dominant region is Asia Pacific, and the market share is that of USD 41.67 billion and along with a forecasted CAGR of 37.65%. The reason for the growth is pretty evident because the Asia Pacific region has an increased utilization of hemp fiber in a wide array of applications that include building materials, clothing, paper apart from textiles. The increased environmental concerns are also one of the reasons for growing interest in the usage of Hemp fibers as it produces environmentally friendly and sustainable products. 

On the other hand, CAGR of 32.40% is the expected growth rate of Europe. Hemp in Europe is again used in a varied application – paper, building material, textiles, ropes. Hemp is increasingly becoming an alternative for cotton as it is a sustainable option. Unlike Hemp, cotton requires lot of chemicals, pesticide and water to grow. 

The European Union is known to give impetus to sustainability by using sustainable materials and Hemp becomes instrumental in achieving this noble cause thus making a viable option for both producers and consumers. 

What is the market potential for Hemp?

The Hemp industry has immense potential and is all set to witness huge growth as it is highly sustainable in nature. As per the experts and facts – USD 4.5 Billion was the global industrial Hemp market size in 2021 and is expected to grow and reach USD 17.24 Billion by 2the time we enter 2030. So, as per this Stats the market is expected to rise 16.9% between 2022 to 2030.

In the year 2022, The global industrial hemp market is said to reach a valuation of about USD 5,040.9 million. Further, in the forecast period between 2023-2028, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.0%. 

The textile industry is the major forerunner in the flourishing of the Hemp market as it is grown without any toxic chemicals and with less water usage. The Hemp fabric is sustainable, reusable and is a raw material for production of goods like fuel, plastic and paper. The market share of Hemp is also increasing as it is being used in a plethora of industries like personal care, beverage, automobiles, construction, furniture, etc. The increased demand for personal care products is also contributing to its increased demand. The increased demand of Hemp as a eco-friendly substitute for Cotton is also adding to its increased market expansion and subsequent market share. 

A graph of hemp market

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How Switching from Cotton to Hemp can do a lot of good to the fashion industry?

Hemp was a popular choice in the textile arena in ancient times but with the passage of time, particularly by the mid-20th century Hemp was almost completely replaced even in the production of items like sails and ropes used by ships. Hemp’s production took a back seat and the popularity of cotton and other synthetic fibers that are petroleum based became a popular choice. 

The increased expansion of motorized shipping facilitated the import of cotton at bulk quantity and cheaper rates. This was one of the major reasons for the shrinking of the Hemp industry.

But, in the 21st century, the drift is quite evident with regards to the increased preference for the Hemp textile in the fashion industry. The reason for the same is its sustainable and eco-friendly nature. The Hemp fabric keeps your cool in summers and slightly warm in winters. Also, it does not need much water to grow and is grown without any chemicals and fertilizers thus making it an environment friendly and human friendly option as exposure to the UV rays produced by the usage of harmful chemicals in agriculture is causing harm to people.

There is not much difference between Hemp and cotton. After processing, Hemp is quite like cotton but is more durable. All these positive factors are continually contributing towards the increase in the Hemp market share worldwide. Thus, we can see that the increased inclination for using Hemp fabric is making the fashion industry more responsible by adapting eco-friendly fashion and helping save Mother Nature. 

Image Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=carbon+footprint+reduction+in+Hemp&sca_esv=587228370&rlz=1C1ONGR_enIN934IN934&tbm=isch&sxsrf=AM9HkKnQEdD_0j0ABxmgZn0pZuSICHdjCg:1701499056728&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjzmPL2kfCCAxXv1DgGHcmNAwMQ_AUoAXoECAIQAw&biw=1366&bih=641&dpr=1#imgrc=LSGvdM7BECZdsM

Image Source: https://eiha.org/media/2019/08/Catherine_Wilson-CannaWellness-EIHA_2019.pdf

Investment opportunities in the Hemp Textile Industry

Before deep diving into the topic, let us understand the potential of the Hemp industry which is rising at a significant CAGR of 33.7% from 2021 to 2030 and the valuation has grown from $4,452million in 2021 to $ 60,682.8 million in 2027. 

The above statement is a testimony to the fact that the Hemp Industrial market has huge potential to grow. The world has witnessed a paradigm shift towards sustainable solutions and the Hemp industry is a all set to embrace a significant growth owing to this preference shift. The Hemp industry is highly versatile and has presence in many applications like health and wellness, textile, automobiles, construction, beverage thus offering unique investment opportunities for investors so that they can capitalize on this expeditiously growing market. 

But we must not undermine or overrule the risks that are related to the investment in the Hemp market. To name some would be the regulations that control the market, the competition that has entered this market and the very nature of the market and the fact that it is highly volatile. If an investor wants to minimize risk and maximize benefits then it is advisable that the investor conducts in-depth research of the market, decides on the investment horizon, and diversifies the portfolio. 

Let us peep into certain factors that characterizes investment in the Hemp industry as a risk-oriented activity and how the same can be turned into an advantage by an investor:

  1. Volatility of the Market

The Hemp market is highly volatile owing to factors like competition and regulations that are amended often. The same might have a not so positive impact on the investment. So, it’s critical for an investor to undergo careful research and analyze the market conditions before investment to reap maximum rewards. 

  1. Understanding and Carefully Navigating the Regulatory Landscape

Owing to the basic nature of the Hemp plant, the Hemp market is usually complexly surrounded by regulations that are dynamic in nature and they keep changing from time to time. So, it is a challenge for an investor to keep abreast with the updated regulation as it is critical to succeed in the highly evolving Hemp market. 

  1. The Ability to Provide High Returns

Although the Hemp market is characterized as a risky market for investors but if the investor is well read about the regulations and policies and takes wise decisions then they are sure to reap impressive profits. 

As a next step, let’s look at the varied investment strategies that can benefit an investor in the Hemp market:

  1. Diversified Approach:

As an investor, a good way to reduce risk as an investor in the Hemp market is to adapt a diversified investment portfolio. The ideal way to do so is to invest in mix of companies belonging to different sectors of the Hemp industry. The diversification could include cultivation, development of product, processing or even retail of the finished product. 

  1. Thorough Research and Aware Decision Making

Both these factors are very critical for an investor in the Hemp market. It is highly advisable for the investors to analyze track records, industry trends, company financials before entering into a Hemp investment. 

  1. Long-Term vs. Short-Term Investing

The investment horizon is a critical aspect that decides the fate of an investor in the Hemp market. The investor needs to be clear about the investment duration, although short-term investment ensures quick returns but might involve risks owing to the volatile nature of the market. On the contrary, a long-term investment will facilitate the investor to gauge and overcome the market turbulence and thus capitalize on the growth oriented potential of the Hemp industry. 

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Information Source:


V. Type of Investment Opportunities in the Hemp Industry

As a next step, it is beneficial for investors to understand the investment opportunities that have the potential to reap maximum benefits. Mentioned below are the elaboration of the investment opportunities:

  1. Publicly Traded Companies

Investing in publicly traded companies from the Hemp industry is an ideal option to enter the market. The reason being that these companies can offer end-to-end services right from cultivation, processing of Hemp to taking care of retail and distribution. 

  1. Private Equity and Venture Capital

High growth potential is ensured in private equity and venture capital investments that are focused on Hemp companies and start-ups. The reason is that these types of investments demand longer investment horizon and is higher in risk tolerance. The same can in turn result in substantial returns. 

  1. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and Mutual Funds

If someone is wanting to diversify their Hemp investment portfolio, then opting for mutual funds and ETFs that have their prime focus in the Hemp industry can serve as a good avenue for gaining experience to a wide array of companies in the Hemp sector. 

How can Hemp help fashion industry lower down It’s carbon footprint?

With the rising concerns over the negative impact of global warming it is high time that we as individuals start taking corrective measures towards rectifying the same and endeavor to minimize further damage to our environment. One such corrective measure that has been witnessed in recent times is in the textile and clothing industry.

You will be surprised to learn that as per research approximately 1 ton of every 19,8 tons of carbon emission in the environment comes from the textile industry. 

At this point it becomes important to understand how carbon production is related to the textile manufacturing industry. There are 2 aspects when it comes to carbon footprint in the textile industry, one is carbon storage also known as carbon sink and the other is carbon emission or carbon sources activities.

Are you aware of the fact that the majority of microplastics are released from textiles when it is washed the first few times. The levels of microplastics are increasing in land, air and sea and is having a negative impact not only on the ecosystem but also on people and animals as well. The major source of microplastics is when textiles made of synthetic fibers are washed and the same results in the release of harmful microplastics. Not only this, microplastics can also originate from the varied accessories or materials used in the printing, coatings and creation of buttons and glitters. Here, it is important to know the appearance of the microplastics originating from textiles and it typically has fiber shape, and this is generally referred to as microfibers.

We can see that a lot of awareness has been generated around the concept of sustainable clothing and the buzz is gaining momentum by more and more clothing brands adapting sustainable raw materials for manufacturing clothes.

The textiles that are heading the list of sustainable fashion are organic cotton, bamboo textile, linen, polyester, lyocell and among these the one that is gaining the maximum attention is ‘Industrial Hemp’. A major disruption is being witnessed in the fashion industry by many fashion labels opting for Hemp fabric to design their clothing line. 

Let us understand that what makes Hemp a top choice when it comes to sustainable clothing and how it helps in reducing the carbon footprint:

  • Hemp plants display a high resistance to pests as compared to cotton plants which facilitates less usage of pesticide which is a major factor in keeping the environment clean. 
  • Only 5% of the total water consumed by the cotton plant to grow is consumed by the Hemp plant during the cultivation stage. This statement justifies how sustainable hemp is as a plant.
  • Hemp is a hassle plant and does not require any specific conditions to grow. As a plant it is very adaptive and can grow in a variety of conditions and unlike cotton it does not need rich topsoil and does not deplete it. 
  • It is known to grow faster than its counterparts which helps in reduction of soil impact and thus ensures better economic gain for the farmers. 

All these above characteristics related to the Hemp plant are playing a pivotal role in the carbon footprint emission by its adaptation in the fashion industry. Progress might take time, but one can rightly say that the step in the right direction has been initiated.

The below image describes how the ecosystem is being negatively impacted by the waste products originating from varied industries which includes  microplastics/microfibers from the textile industry:

Image Source: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/microplastics-from-textiles-towards-a/microplastics-from-textiles-towards-a

How the promotion of Hemp in the fashion industry make it more aligned with SDG Goals?

The Sustainable Goals Development Goals is a framework of 17 goals that has been carefully articulated by the United Nations which is based on the global crisis that is faced by the World. The aim is to achieve the goals by the year 2030. The subjects of global interests include the following:


2. Hunger

3. good health

4. well-being

5. quality education

6. gender equality

7. clean water and sanitation 

8. affordable and clean energy

9. decent work and economic growth industry

10. innovation and infrastructure

11. reduced inequalities

12. sustainable cities and communities

13. responsible production and consumption

14, climate action

15, life below water and life on land

16. peace

17. justice and strong institutions partnerships for the goals

It is interesting to know that the textile industry is at the heart of the SDGs as it is one of the largest sources of pollution that is directly related to the goals like climate action, life on land and below sea and sustainable communities. More than 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide is emitted by the textile industry and more than 22 million microfibers and 21 billion plus tons of waste is emitted and it pollutes the ecosystem. 20% of this waste constitutes extremely toxic wastewater that comes from the harmful chemical dyes that are used in the textile industry. 

It is an alarming fact that of the textile produced only 1% of it is recycled and almost 25% of garments produced are not sold and the synthetic textiles emit more than 35% of microfibers into the oceans in the process of manufacturing synthetic textiles. Thus, remedial approaches are being adopted in accordance with the SDGs that are promoting the establishment of textile factories that have state of the art machinery to produce sustainable eco-friendly textile and also usage of sustainable textile in the garment industry.

Of late, sustainable agricultural opportunities are gaining momentum among the farmers in the US and one crop that has got the maximum limelight is ‘Industrial Hemp’ owing to its potential for being highly sustainable. With the passage of time the production of Hemp had taken a back seat whereas Hemp played an important role in the history of the US. But production and usage of highly addictive substances like Marijuana was banned by the US government. Later with the production of other varieties of Hemp that is used for manufacturing textiles Hemp started coming back into the mainstream under the Controlled Substances Act’s (CSA).  

We are living in the era of sustainable development goals, and it has become critical to focus on sustainability as much as possible across all the aspects. Industrial development has opened employment opportunities and has provided growth to the economy of the nations worldwide but on the flip side industrialization has also resulted in harm to the ecosystem owing to the exotic emissions. Owing to the growing concerns of imbalance in the ecosystem the focus is on sustainable options across all the industries and at the heart of it is the textile and fashion industry that is known to be a major contributing factor in emitting harmful and toxic wastes. One plant that has got the centerstage attention is the Hemp plant as it is environmentally friendly as it needs very less water to grow and very less pesticides in comparison to cotton, a representative fiber plant.  

Hemp plants require shirt duration to grow, and the entire plant can be put to varied uses thus making it highly versatile and sustainable as nothing gets wasted. Right from the seeds that are rich in protein, low in carbohydrate and rich in unsaturated fatty acids and dietary fiber. The stalk is used in producing textile and the leaves are rich source of essential nutrients and protein. 

Thus, there is a demand for Hemp fiber in the arena of sustainable clothing and fashion and is considered to play a significant role soon. Leading fashion brands are showcasing an exclusive range of clothing made of Hemp and are gaining popularity among the consumers owing to its eco friendly qualities. 

With the increasing awareness of protecting the environment and bringing back the balance in the ecosystem, Hemp is the most favorable choice of the textile and fashion industry and is the major factor in facilitating the accomplishment of the SDG goals towards achieving a sustainable community with clean climate and environment. 

Not only the SDGs related to sustainability and cleanliness in the environment/climate can be achieved with the Hemp plant but also with proper research and thinking and appropriate execution and usage of Hemp plantation, other SDGs like poverty alleviation, good health and wellbeing, industry innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities, and communities to name a few. 

Sustainable Development Goals launch in 2016

Image Showcasing the SDGs identified by the United Nations

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BOHECO - These are the 10 SDGs we can achieve with #Hemp driectly. The SDGs  work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices  now to improve life,

Image depicting the SDGs that can be achieved together with Hemp.

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Role of Hemp in circular fashion

Before deep diving into the role of Hemp in the arena of circular fashion, let us first understand the concept of ‘circular fashion’ as the same will provide better clarity into the subject and the impact of Hemp. There are certain principles that define the concept of circular fashion and the same are as follows:

  • Building a sustainable business model that ensures clothes are kept in use and not discarded until it cannot be further recycled.
  • Usage of renewable and safe raw materials to manufacture clothes
  • Creation of innovative ways to turn used clothes into new ones

The circular fashion and economy as a holistic concept might sound complex but it is a simple concept. The basic concept that plays a pivotal role in circular fashion is operating in a close loop as opposed to a linear model wherein the resources are taken from the Earth to manufacture the products and after using the same it is dumped back into the nature in the form of waste that results in pollution and toxicity in the ecosystem. 

Unlike the linear model, in circular economy instead of throwing away used products, it gets reused and is fed back into the system by way of reusing the materials and components of the used product in some way or the other. 

Why do We Need Circular Fashion?

It’s important to learn the need to shift towards circular fashion. The social and environmental impact of over production and comparatively less consumption of clothes is becoming a rising concern. The figures of the textile industry regarding the carbon prints that it’s leaving behind are brow rising. More than 100 billion garments are produced annually and if predictions are to be believed then it is to rise by 63% by the year 2030. The same indicates that the damage to the environment will be three times more than what it is now as per the predicted growth. 

You will be surprised that only 13% of the entire textile produced is recycled after being used as clothes. Most of the clothes enter the secondhand cloth market and less than 1% is recycled into new clothes. The same indicates a huge loss of materials worth USD 100 billion every year. You will be alarmed to learn that almost 85% of the 53 million tons of textiles produced each year end up in the landfills. 

With such alarming figures from the textile industry the need of the hour is to make a radical shift towards sustainable options and redesigning a model that will witness a paradigm shift and that is adapting sustainable raw material like Hemp in manufacturing textiles and clothes which does not have harmful implications on Mother Nature. Hemp, as a plant itself, is a highly sustainable plant as practically nothing goes waste, right from the leaves to the stalk to the seeds are put into use to create products. 


The awareness of conserving the ecosystem is becoming prevalent in the textile industry and the paradigm shift towards sustainable fashion is becoming highly evident and it is being witnessed that clothing manufacturers are making use of Hemp plant in creating fashion and regular clothing. This emerging trend and commendable shift towards circular fashion along with usage of sustainable raw materials will have a positive impact on the fashion industry and Hemp is sure to emerge as the ‘Hero’ in this entire highly impactful episode in the history of the textiles industry. 

What is Circular Fashion & How Does it Link To QR Code Labels? - Asquith  Group

Image depicting the concept of sustainable fashion.

Image Source: https://www.asquith-group.com/news/what-is-circular-fashion

HEMP LIFECYCLE — Direct to Source

Image showcasing the role of Hemp in circular fashion.

Image Source: https://www.directtosource.com.au/hemp-lifecycle

Information Source: https://www.makegood.world/article-circular-fashion