What Actually Is Hemp Fabric?

by: Rosie Dalton | 6 months ago | Features

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There has been a lot of confusion over the years, regarding the use of hemp in fashion. But, although it is derived from the cannabis plant, hemp fabric contains little to no THC – which is the psychoactive ingredient of Cannabis. So governmental and media efforts to link the innovative material with marijuana are simply misleading. In fact, this natural fibre can actually help to revolutionise fashion, given that it is cultivated with some of the lowest environmental impact we have seen to date.

Patagonia is a big proponent of using hemp for clothing, for example, because as the brand points out, “it requires no pesticides, synthetic fertilisers or GMO seeds. Cultivation of hemp improves soil health by replenishing vital nutrients and preventing erosion. It’s one of the most durable natural fibres on the planet and results in fabric with wonderful drape that’s comparable to linen.”

It is for this reason that, when choosing the fabrics for Well Made Clothes’ first ever denim collaboration, hemp was the ~natural~ choice. Launched in partnership with Anny Duff from Good Studios, our Denim, Made Good collection features sustainable, vintage-inspired jeans in three versatile washes.

Working a lot with hemp, Good Studios describes this fabric as “the business. Naturally thermoregulating, hemp will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. Antibacterial properties also mean you won’t have to wash as regularly.” Which is, after all, considered the best way to keep your jeans looking great forever.

We weren’t the first to develop denim using hemp fabric. In fact, before Levi’s first invented the 501s, their iconic jeans were actually crafted from hemp. At the time, Levi Strauss was selling tents made of hemp canvas. And, considering the fabric’s amazing durability, it proved a natural first choice when he began making pants for the rugged lifestyle of California Gold Rush miners.

Today, though, most denim is made out of conventional cotton – which accounts for as much as 5% of all pesticides and 14% of all insecticides use globally. And uses a hell of a lot of water in the process. By contrast, our hemp denim jeans are much more sustainable to grow – requiring little irrigation and adding biodiversity back into the soil. Plus they have been made to fit by one of the best in the business. "[Making jeans] is actually a complex process involving mathematics through to chemistry,” says Denimsmith founder Leonie Rutherford. In other words, hemp jeans aren't good for the planet, but also good for your butt.

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