Hemp has once again – and finally – started to receive a lot of attention in recent years. Over the course of history, hemp has been used in a wide-range of applications, including the production of clothing, and while its popularity waned and almost became non-existent in the mainstream, in recent years, hemp clothing has come back onto the scene.
In fact, hemp fiber clothing is surging, and for good reason, as it offers a wealth of benefits. Brands like Recreator, Jungmaven, TenTree, and Afends proving that hemp can be hip, as unhip as this sentence is. Additional brands mentioned in more detail have put hemp first and foremost in their product lineups and are experiencing amazing success because of it.
Other manufacturers have taken notice of the increased interest in popularity, and there are there are numerous hemp clothing brands to choose from.
If you’re interests are piqued and you’d like to learn more, keep on reading. Below, you’ll find more information about hemp, including its benefits for the production of clothing, as well as some of the most popular hemp clothing brands.
What’s the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?
When most people hear the word “hemp”, marijuana immediately comes to mind. While it is true that both are derived from the same plant – Cannabis sativa – there are two primary differences between the two:
- The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, a cannabinoid that cannabis naturally produces that causes a psychoactive effect when it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system after it has been ingested either via inhalation or orally) levels. The THC content of hemp is less than 0.3 percent, while marijuana’s THC content is higher and varies from strain to strain.
- The legality. Since the THC levels in hemp are so minute, the cultivation of hemp is legal in the United States on a federal level, and it is used in the production of a wide range of products, such as paper, rope (or Hempwick for example), plastic, and even building materials, like Hempcrete, a hemp-derived concrete alternative! THC-rich cannabis, on the other hand, is illegal and is classified as a Schedule A drug by the United States federal government.
Hemp’s History: It’s a Long One
As one of the strongest fibers in the world, hemp has been used for thousands of years. In fact, its roots can be traced back to as far as 8000 BC. In China, where hemp use has the longest and most documented history, the fiber was used to produce paper and it was weaved into clothing. The value of hemp was also realized around the world, and it was cultivated and used for the production of a myriad of products.
In the not-so-distant past, this all-natural fiber was extremely popular in the United States. In fact, George Washington wasn’t just the first president of the United Sates; he was also a hemp farmer. Washington realized the versatility and incredible value of hemp, and hence, his initial interest in hemp was as a cash crop, though he decided not to cultivate it and rather grew it for use on his own plantation, Mount Vernon, where it was used as thread, rope, canvas, and even for repairing damaged seine nets that were used for fishing.
According to historical documents, by the year 1915, hemp crops covered more than 8,400 acres of land in the United States, with Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and California being the largest producers. As a result of fiber shortages that occurred during World War I, the domestic production of hemp increased in numerous US sates, including South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, and Kansas to an impressive 41,200 acres in the year 1917.
The Decline of Hemp Use in the United States
Unfortunately, the use of hemp started to wane not long after World War I. The decreased interested in the crop was largely the result of the increased production and use of cotton, which soared because oil and steel tycoons, like the Rockerfellers, who were largely invested in the textile and funded massive marketing campaigns that painted hemp in a negative light in order to ensure that it wouldn’t beat out their cash crop (similar to what these same tycoons did with naturopathy so that they could push their petro-chemical pharmaceutical products and the allopathic system of medicine that they founded, funded, and continue to fund to this day).
Propaganda campaigns that associated hemp with marijuana and that painted marijuana in a negative light were massively successfully, and as such, the cultivation of hemp became taboo in the mainstream. It remained that way for decades; however, in recent, there has been a major shift in the way hemp is viewed.
This is largely due to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill by the US federal government, which made it legal to produce hemp for agricultural use in 46 states, so long as the THC content of the plant remained under 0.3 percent.
The Benefits of Hemp Clothing
Increased cultivation has put hemp back in the spotlight, which is definitely a good thing. While it is, once again, being used to produce a wide range of products, perhaps the most popular commodity that is being made out of hemp again is clothing. And for good reason, as it offers so many benefits. The following are just some of the benefits of hemp clothing.
- Hemp is durable and protective. Hemp fibers are extremely durable; it’s three time stronger than cotton fibers, in fact. As such, clothing that is made out of hemp – a pair of jeans or a T-shirt, for example – will last a lot longer than clothing made of cotton. Cotton fibers wear down and weaken when laundered, while hemp fibers do not.
Thanks to its durability, hemp clothing provides is much more protective than cotton clothing, and it is much more practical to wear in situations where clothing gets heavy wear, such as construction and even sport, as it will not withstand exposure to harsh conditions, but it also provides excellent protection. It provides outstanding protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays; even thin layers of hemp clothing does a better job at protecting the skin from sun exposure than heavy cotton garments.
Hemp’s tough fibers resist bacterial growth, which helps to prevent the development of unpleasant odors. Additionally, the fibers of the hemp plant are highly absorbent, and therefore, clothing made of the plant dries a lot faster. It also retains its color a lot longer than clothing that is made of other types of textiles.
- It’s comfortable. While it might not seem like a material that is as rugged and durable as hemp would be comfortable, on the contrary, it’s actually extremely comfortable. It’s very soft-to-the-touch. It’s also moisture-wicking and will keep you cool during the summer, yet it can also retain heat well, so hemp clothing will keep you warm in the winter. It really is an exceptionally versatile, all-weather fabric.
- It’s good for you and the environment. Unlike other natural fibers, hemp is pest-resistant, which is very rare. As such, there is no need to spray crops with harmful pesticides while it is being cultivated, which is a major plus. Pesticides are poisons, and they damage much more than the pests that they are intended to kill; they’re also extremely damaging to the environment and to you! Pesticides contaminate soil, water, and other types of vegetation. They also kill birds, aquatic life, and beneficial insects, such as bees, butterflies, and ladybugs. Pesticides are also known to cause a variety of health issues, including respiratory conditions, skin disorders, and even cancer. The fact that hemp doesn’t require the application of pesticides, it’s much more environmentally and humanity friendly than cotton.
Additionally, hemp needs very little water to grow, whereas cotton utilizes about 50 percent more water per growth season. When you factor in processing, cotton needs as much as four times the amount of water than hemp. It’s also great for the soil! Hemp returns an astonishing 65 to 70 percent of the nutrients that it takes from the soil back to the earth.
Conversely, cotton depletes a lot of nutrients from the soil, and it does so rapidly; what’s more, it doesn’t return those nutrients back to the earth.
- It’s sustainable. In regard to growing conditions, hemp is extremely versatile. It not only grows, but it grows well, in a variety of climates and soil types; it literally can be grown pretty much anywhere in the world. Moreover, large amounts of hemp can be grown in limited space. Add to that the fact that hemp doesn’t require pesticides, it uses very little water, and it returns nutrients back to the earth, it doesn’t damage the environment; on the other hand, it’s actually beneficial for the environment! Whether or not you submit to the climate change theory, everyone can agree that the sustainability that hemp provides is a very good thing for the environment, for humans, for the animal kingdom, and for other plants.
- It’s fashionable. Hemp clothing can be quite fashionable. Due to the above-mentioned benefits, fashion designers have taken notice, and there are fashions available in a variety of styles and designs. From the earth-and-peace-loving hippie look to the athletic sporty style, and even business and formal attire, you can find hemp clothing in virtually any style. All types of garments are made of hemp, too, including shirts, blouses, jeans, trousers, jackets, loungewear, athletic wear, pajamas, socks, and even underwear and bathing suits!
The Best Hemp Clothing Brands
Given the aforementioned benefits, it’s easy to see that hemp clothing is simply amazing, and it’s popularity can certainly be understood. Because of the myriad of advantages that hemp clothing offers, there’s been a huge surge in hemp fashion designs. Whether you’re interested in adding a few pieces to your wardrobe or you’d like to switch out your entire closet, check out some of the following brands.
A new conscious fashion label, Valani combines plant-based fibers and minimal-impact dyes in their entire clothing line. They bring together the soft, durable, comfortable, and eco-friendly fibers of the hemp plant with silky Tencel threads, to create lightweight, breathable, soft, comfortable, flowing, and truly fashionable designs. Valani adds delicate accents, features, and touches to their designs to create a clothing line that is whimsical, feminine, and flirty.
When you’re shopping for hemp fashions, you’re going to find that many of the brands offer options that are made with blended fabrics. If you want clothing that is made out of 100 percent hemp, then BeWUSST Hempwear is a brand that you’re definitely going to want to check out. That’s because they’re one of the few brands out there whose garments are made out of 100 percent hemp. Options include undergarments, basics, like T-shirts, and unisex loungewear.
Amour is an eco-conscious fashion label that is based in San Francisco. Their clothing designs are whimsical, and they are mindful of the fabrics that are used in their fashions, which include, of course, hemp, as well as organic cotton, and Tencel. Amour Vert is fully transparent, and the large majority of their line is made locally, right in California, which is a major added bonus.
Outerknown is an up-and-coming brand that produces hemp clothing. They made all types of casual apparel, including comfy, cool, and visually pleasing styles that can be worn to the beach, on adventures, or even out to brunch with family and friends. Like a lot hemp clothing brands, Outerknown uses a combination of fibers, including Tencel and organic cotton, in their apparel.
A lot of hemp clothing brands offer casual styles that are perfect for those days when you’re kicking back and relaxing, running errands, hanging at the beach, or grabbing a bite to eat. Patagonia is different, as their line-up focuses on more fashion-forward designs. They were also one of the first brands to use hemp in their clothing. Their fabrics are blended with organic cotton and regenerative cotton, too.
Eileen Fisher is committed to making garments for the fashion- and eco-conscious. Here designs are minimalist and timeless, and all garments are made of sustainable fibers, including, of course, hemp, as well as organic cotton. Eileen Fisher also offers the option for you to send back garments once they have been worn until they can’t be worn anymore, and they’ll renew the piece and send it back to you, or they’ll renew it and resell it.
Herb CEO Summary
The future for hemp, this wonderful pragmatic natural fiber, is looking to be a bright one. Businessmen and women are finding that it can pay to do the right thing and quality price ratios can be fairly balanced.