What if it was possible to be eco-friendly and fashionable at the same time? Well, this is possible now. Thanks to marijuana’s cousin, hemp. When we talk about hemp, you might picture rigid, dust-coloured, rough sacks. But those days are long gone. Hemp is a sustainable organic fibre that can be regenerated. Almost everything that can be made with cotton, can be made with hemp as well. In the race between hemp and cotton to be the better choice, the former outstands the latter.
The impact of fashion industry towards climate change is a highly debated topic. But with the legalisation of hemp in the United States, iconic brands like Levi’s are exploring ways to incorporate hemp in their production line. People today feel more responsibility towards the environment than in the past. The demand for sustainable and eco-friendly fashion products is on the rise and the use of hemp can address these demands to a great extent.
Here are 9 reasons the fashion industry needs to turn on to hemp to save the planet-
1) Hemp absorbs carbon –
Hemp is an excellent carbon absorbent, it absorbs carbon dioxide at a rate faster than other plants. The presence of excessive carbon dioxide in the environment is one of the major causes of global warming. Rapid changes in fashion trends lead to increased production and disposal of clothes. Which in turn causes an increase in the levels of carbon dioxide. One hectare of hemp cultivation can absorb 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare. Thus,
by increasing the usage of hemp as fabric for clothes, the levels of carbon dioxide in the environment can be controlled to a great extent.
2) Hemp clothing softens over time –
Hemp fabric gets softer with every wash while resisting abrasion and holding its shape intact. It is extremely comfortable to wear apparels made from hemp. The properties of hemp actually make it possible for your skin to breathe through it. Isn’t it amazing how your clothing fabric can make you feel so much at ease? Now you can feel both fashionable and comfortable at the same time.
1) It is a cost-effective solution –
Hemp is comparatively less expensive to cultivate. It does not require pesticides or herbicides to grow. It has very minimal growth requirements. Hemp can easily grow under diverse circumstances with very few requirements. Since hemp is a cost-effective raw material for clothing, it would also result in the production of affordable clothes. This, in turn, will help to keep the prices of clothes in control.
2) Hemp fabric is naturally chemical-free –
Since the cultivation of hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides unlike cotton, this makes it a chemical-free fabric. Apart from being chemical-free, hemp also resists UV rays. We can say that hemp is not harsh on the skin and it also protects the skin from harmful UV rays. In times when people are looking for chemical-free and organic products, hemp becomes an ideal choice. It is free from toxins and is highly recommended for people with sensitive skin.
3) Hemp has Antimicrobial properties –
Hemp is a fabric with antimicrobial properties that provides protection against microbes. This property of hemp makes it durable, long-lasting, clean and also prevents the growth of odour-causing bacteria. Unlike other textile fibres that wear off easily, hemp lasts much longer and remains in shape.
4) It is versatile –
Hemp mixes well with other fabrics. You can blend it with silk, cotton or even bamboo to create the most fashionable products. It is the versatility of hemp that is making it popular in the fashion industry. Hemp blends well with other fabrics while maintaining its unique properties along with the qualities of the other fabric as well. Mixing hemp fibre with other fibres is becoming a widely accepted practice in the sustainable fashion industry.
5) Hemp puts less stress on the soil –
As compared to other fabrics, hemp uses a small footprint. It requires just half the land used for cotton cultivation and produces three times more cotton in the same land. It also eliminates top-soil erosion caused due to logging. Hemp clothing is biodegradable, which means that the soil doesn’t have a hard time decomposing hemp products. These properties of hemp make it easy on the soil causing less stress to it. These crops can be grown for many years continuously without rotation as it does not deplete the soil, rather hemp replenishes the soil.
1) Hemp requires less water to grow –
Hemp cultivation does not require huge irrigation facilities. It requires only a fraction of the amount of water used by other fibres. With depleting freshwater resources, fibres like hemp act as a saviour with all their wonderful properties. Switching to hemp cultivation will save a huge amount of water resources. It needs about one-third amount of water as needed by cotton.
2) Hemp is stronger –
Despite being lightweight, hemp clothing is stronger than other fabrics. It is in fact the strongest natural fibre available. It is the strength and durability of hemp that make it a preferred clothing option. You don’t need to worry about the regular wear and tear of your clothes as hemp holds the fabric strong and sturdy for years in a row.
3) It has a high growth rate –
Hemp is the fastest growing weed. It has fewer cultivation requirements and grows faster as compared to other fibres. It is a hard and sturdy plant with a high growth rate. It is not complicated to grow hemp. It grows well even in varied climate and conditions. It has numerous applications in the fashion industry and is available in abundance, which will not create problems in the demand-supply ratio. There will always be enough to serve its users.
4) Hemp doesn’t require dyes –
Hemp is a naturally vibrant fibre. It can be put to use without dyes, however, adding dyes would only enhance its natural beauty. It can be spun into a variety of different colours without the application of dyes. Because of its porous nature, hemp retains its vibrance and richness longer than other fabrics.
So many qualities in just one fibre. No wonder hemp is called the ‘Super Crop’ of today’s generation. The fashion industry is exploring new alternatives for sustainable fashion and hemp is one of the most sought-after options. It is the need of the hour that fashion houses understand their responsibility towards the planet and put their best foot in.
In order to eliminate further negative impact on the environment, it is crucial that the fashion industry comes up with ethical strategies. Steps must be taken to ensure that fashion doesn’t cost us our planet. And one such step is the use of hemp as an alternative to protect Mother Earth!