Before we answer – is hemp clothing sustainable, let’s give you some background on why it’s important for everyone to be asking this question.
The clothing products we wear daily, are mostly synthetic garments, much to the trend of fast-fashion that perpetuates the rapid replacement culture. All our synthetic clothing is treated with antimicrobial, waterproofing, and artificial dyes – all of which are heavily toxic for the environment.
Every single time we wash our synthetic fabrics, we release millions of microfibers into the water. They are too tiny to be treated in waste treatment plants, and therefore they end up in our rivers and oceans wreaking havoc on marine life.
Let us not confuse ourselves with hemp clothing being clothing manufactured from marijuana, the drug that gives you a high. Hemp and marijuana are two different species of the same plant. But hemp has no psychoactive component like THC on it, and is, therefore, completely harmless.
And the miracles of hemp clothing is also not a recent discovery. Before the 1920s, hemp fabric was used widely across the USA to manufacture clothes(around 80%), and a plethora of other products. A prominent advocate of hemp cultivation for industrial manufacturing was George Washington himself.
What Are Microfibers, And How Are They Harmful?
Microfiber is a primary component of micro-plastics that do more harm to our environment that we perceive. These are synthetic fibers that are smaller than the diameter of a strand of silk. The most common microfibers are polyamides such as nylon, and polyesters, and often an amalgamation of all two, along with polypropylene (the infamous regular plastic).
These delicate laces of synthetic fibers block the digestive and respiratory tracts of several aquatic lifeforms leading them to die at a frightening pace. Depending on the size of the fiber and the size of the animal ingesting it, the impact of the microfiber to that organism may range from severe impairment to slow and painful deaths.
Research studies have established that microplastics are lethal for aquatic organisms who end up ingesting them as food. It affects their ability to nourish themselves, and reproduce. A lab study performed an experiment where they fed zooplankton, foods laced with microfibers. And the results showed poor health and malnourishment in them.
In this article, we are going to do a lot more than answer your questions. Expect answers to these questions:
- Is hemp clothing sustainable
- How exactly?
- Is it a practical choice?
Plus, we will take you through the several advantages of wearing clothing manufactured from hemp fiber, and what a massive impact we can create simply by being a little more responsible with our choice of fabric, all the while maintaining your fashion aesthetics.
Is hemp clothing sustainable? What Are The Advantages Of Hemp Clothing?
Now let us see the enormous positive impact we can create by choosing hemp clothing:
1. Hemp Is A robust And Sturdy Fiber
The hemp fiber is one of the most eco-friendly fibers on earth. It is a solid material as the fibers are tightly knit together, and the threads are also much longer. Therefore, hemp fiber is three times stronger than cotton fabrics, assuring a longer shelf lifespan of the clothing than any other type of fabric.
2. Hemp Clothes Will Protect You From UV Rays
One of the best characteristics of hemp fiber is that it blocks the harmful UV rays from reaching your skin. Even more, it protects you from undesired sunburns, tanning. According to a report from the WHO, ‘UV radiation accelerates skin aging, and the gradual loss of the skin’s elasticity results in wrinkles and dry, coarse skin.’ Knowing that you will stay protected from these harmful rays, hemp fiber is the fabric to go for.
3. Clothes Made From Hemp Are Incredibly Comfortable To Wear
The fabric is exceptionally comfortable to put on and is very soft to the skin. Therefore switching to this fabric will not come at the cost of losing your sense of comfort. In fact, an equal number of the thread count of cotton or linen produces the same feeling of softness as the same number of hemp threads. The higher the amount of hemp is in your fabric, the more will be the level of softness. Clothes made using hemp fabric feels and looks great.
4. Hemp Clothes Get Softer Over Time
One of the unique qualities of the hemp fiber is that it is one of those very few fabrics that naturally grow softer as they age, and with each time you wash it — thereby making your clothes even more comfortable. Given its durability, longevity, and comfort level, it indeed makes the best choice of fabric.
5. Hemp Clothing Is Waterproof
Hemp quickly absorbs water, therefore, keeping you dry and fresh at all times. It is also naturally resistant to mold and fungal growth. Hemp fiber is more water-absorbent because of the porous nature of its fiber. Due to this quality, dyed hemp clothes can retain their color better than any other fabric.
6. Hemp Clothing Is Very Airy
Hemp fiber is hugely porous, makes it a very breathable fabric. Due to its excellent insulation properties, it keeps your clothes warmer during winter season, and cooler in the summer. For this reason, hemp fabrics are used widely as bed sheets, pillows, and blankets.
7. Hemp Is Completely Biodegradable
When you discard your clothes and other fabrics when they are worn out or get stained beyond recovery, this pile sadly ends up outside in the landfills, and the microplastics of the clothes wreak the environment.
Imagine, having such a situation, where your clothes are beyond repair and can neither be donated, you will no longer have to feel guilty for contributing to environmental pollution, as hemp is 100% biodegradable.
8. Hemp Has Antimicrobial Properties
Hemp is naturally repellent to mold and a wide array of pathogenic bacteria that makes our clothes stink or lose its glamour shortly. Hence, your hemp clothes are going to smell better for a more extended period, without needing a daily wash. Even if you keep the clothes along with clothing made of other fibers, it will retain its freshness and stay odor-free, considerably longer.
9. Hemp Is A Very Versatile Fiber
Hemp fabrics can range from lightweight to heavy ones depending on the usage. One might cringe at the thought that shifting to hemp fabrics might meddle with one’s exquisite fashion sense. But it does not. The fiber is so versatile that it is used to make a plethora of fashion clothing in great designs and cool colors. It’s high versatility also makes it wearable during any season.
Hemp fabric makes great jeans, trousers, and shorts, shirts and dresses, hats and bags, and also natural skincare products. It is also popular as bed covers, curtains, cushion, and pillow covers, throws, jackets, coats, and skirts. You name it, and you have it!
10. Hemp Is The Most Eco-friendly crop To Grow
Here are some of the most significant reasons:
I. Hemp absorbs toxic materials from soil and replenishes the soil. Hemp quickly decomposes in nature within a short span of three to six months.
II. Hemp can produce twice the amount of fiber per acre than cotton.
III. While cotton requires a warm climate to grow, hemp can grow in almost any environment.
IV. Hemp requires minimal watering compared to cotton.
V. Hemp breathes out four times the amount of carbon dioxide into the environment during its quick growth period that lasts for about 12 to 14 weeks.
VI. Hemp does not attract weed growth. Instead, it automatically repels its growth and is inflected with very few insects — the lesser the life threats, the less use of fertilizers and herbicides in the soil. Hemp cultivation is hence not a contributor to water pollution. It is responsible for a better quality of soil, leaving it more fertile.
VII. Hemp fabric is an easily recyclable item and therefore has more longevity and sustainability.
VIII. Unlike plastic fibers generated from our clothing, hemp does not have endocrine disruptors, and no toxic fumes are released during the manufacturing process.
You now know, and if you come across anybody wondering – is hemp clothing sustainable, go ahead and answer with a resounding YES.
It is the duty of everyone who believes in a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle, to educate themselves on alternative ways of clothing and advocate the usage of hemp clothing.