Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants and its uses include building materials, weed control, and even biofuels. But, what is the history of hemp and why is it so useful in the fashion industry?
Hemp was first spun into usable fibre over 10,000 years ago. It has been used for centuries because of its versatility. Pure hemp fabric is similar to linen so can be used to make a variety of clothing and accessories. The cultivation of hemp has been traced back to 5th Millennium BC and was used in pottery. The Chinese then used hemp in clothes and even to create the first paper. Due to the prohibition and the rise of the cotton industry, hemp became less popular. However, in today’s climate, hemp is making a comeback.
Not only is hemp incredibly versatile, but it is also recyclable, renewable, and reusable. It uses one third the amount of water that cotton uses but produces over two times the amount of fibre. It also needs no pesticides or herbicides, making it extremely sustainable. At ‘Thought‘ they pride themselves in their use of hemp. It takes a very short time to get from plant to fabric and can be made softer when blended with other fabrics. Not only is the production environmentally friendly, but the fabric dries very quickly, so there is no need to tumble dry it. There are more and more brands using hemp and other sustainable fabrics. We are heading in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Hemp was once the most used fabric in the fashion industry, but because of the creation of other fabrics, it was used less and less. But because of today’s climate, we need to use hemp more. Mainstream fashion brands have to get on board and incorporate hemp into their clothing to make an impact.