Is Hemp Fabric The Next Big Thing

Hemp fabric is a type of textile that is made by using fibers from the stalks of the Cannabis sativa plant. This plant has been recognized as a source of extraordinarily tensile and durable textile fibers for ages. The usage of hemp can be traced back to 8000 BC in the Middle East and China where the fiber was used for textiles, ropes, and fishnets, the hemp oil for cosmetic purposes, and the seeds as a food source. Hemp has been used to produce high-quality paper for centuries.

Hemp fabric 1

While science doesn’t differentiate between “hemp” and “marijuana,” as they both belong to the same family of  Cannabaceae.  Legally, the key difference between the two is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. THC is one of many cannabinoids or chemicals found in the cannabis plant. It’s the one that’s primarily responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis.

Hemp is defined as cannabis containing 0.3 percent or less THC content by dry weight. Hemp grows faster as compared to other crops, it’s considered to be a more sustainable way of making products like paper and textiles.

Hemp fabric

Hemp fabrics are stronger, more absorbent, more durable, and better insulating than cotton. Furthermore, they don’t stretch out of shape. Whereas, cotton is considered ideal for t-shirts, jeans, and other apparel where some stretch is desirable.

Cotton fabric is considered softer and more comfortable against the human skin than hemp fabric as it has a rough feel to it in its natural spun state but hemp fibers are water absorbent which allows the fiber to dye well and retain its color better than any other fabrics.

Cotton fiber blends well with hemp and hemp fiber adds stability and strength to cotton, making the fabric stronger and slightly lowering its shrinkage. The hemp fabric softens with each washing, and its fibers don’t degrade even after dozens of washings like other fabrics.

Garments commonly made with hemp fabric include dresses, skirts, pants, jackets, T-shirts, hoodies, and children’s clothing. Hemp fabric is highly popular for T-shirts as it is resistant to wear and tear better than other fabrics and is also popular for use in towels due to its high absorbency and durability.

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Hemp can easily grow in most regions of the world. Hemp also possesses a natural resistance to many pest species and requires very little water to grow. It grows fast and can be harvested up to three times per year which makes it cheap and fast to cultivate and easy to care for than others. Thus, making it a renewable resource.

Some issues need to be addressed regarding hemp fabric. First, hemp tends to be more expensive in the market therefore, people tend to go for the cheaper options available to them in these cases. Second, hemp’s affiliation with marijuana has made a problematic image as hemp’s innate eco-friendliness also means that hemp clothing is closely associated with hippie culture which is unfortunately seen as almost synonymous with getting high. Thus, it needs rebranding to attract a large base.

All in all, Hemp fabric has the potential to become the next big thing in the fashion industry.

Image credits: Pinterest

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By: Sukreeti Anand

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