The advantages of hemp clothing
Why hemp is the fabric of the future
Words— Frank And Oak staff
With an equal focus on style and sustainability, hemp has come a long way from its puka shell necklace days. It’s truly a wonder-fabric and we’ve gone ahead and used it for some of our latest summer essentials.
One of the earliest plants to be cultivated, you'll find hemp fibre imprints on Chinese pottery from as far back as 5th millennium BC. Back in 18th-century colonial America, hemp was a fast-growing, cost-efficient crop to grow–so much so that it was mandatory for farmers to grow in some parts. George Washington himself grew it. It's also said that the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp. Of course, America then cracked down on hemp production (for a number of reasons that are disputed today) and cannabis was officially outlawed for any use with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and was only legal to grow as of 2018.
Today it's even seen as a modern, eco-friendly building material in highly insulating Hempcrete, rope, textiles, food, paper, plastics and even biofuel. A Canadian company even built a car out of hemp.
Hemp has multiple amazing properties, but it also just makes for a super-soft and comfortable piece of clothing (which in some ways is the most important thing). Here are just a few reasons why we’ve decided to use it, besides comfort.
Most crops are helped by the use of pesticides and herbicides that protect them from a variety of diseases, weeds, and insects. Hemp can take care of itself and doesn't require these protectants or synthetic fertilizers. This is a good thing for you and the environment. While you likely won't be out in the hemp fields yourself, pesticide particles can transfer to consumers and irritate the skin and eyes and induce other health problems. They can also pollute water supplies and contaminate nearby soil. Pesticide particles have also been linked to the decreasing bee population. None of this is a concern with hemp.
Consumes less water
Hemp grows together tightly (which takes less land), and grows fast (which leads to high yields). It even improves soil health and was used at Chernobyl to harmlessly extract toxins and pollutants from the soil and groundwater. It also absorbs more carbon dioxide than any other crop as it grows through natural photosynthesis (making it carbon negative). It also uses half as much land and thus consumes half as much water as standard cotton. Impressive.
Antimicrobial, UV-blocking, and more
Hemp contains compounds that have been proven to have the ability to kill surface bacteria, including strains of staph. The short version? Your clothes won't get mouldy and mildewy if they get too humid or damp.
It's as important as ever to protect yourself from harmful UV rays, but besides lathering yourself in Coppertone, consider covering yourself in hemp to naturally protect yourself from the sun–it boasts a natural SPF of at least 15.
You may also notice that hemp garments don't create static. It has the same net static charge as human skin and works in harmony with our electromagnetic fields. We don't quite understand it either but we like it!
We’re proud to work with Hemp Fortex for our latest hemp garments. They’re a supplier who has always prized quality and sustainability in their textiles. Their hemp is cultivated in the mountains of Northern China and the only comply to EU approved dyes and chemicals, carefully controlling any wastewater.
They’re also a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, implementing social programs for workers in their factories with the intention of educating and empowering them.
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