Why Hemp is the "Rock Star" of the Fashion Industry!
Hemp Apparel and the Amazing Benefits
Times, they are a changin'......and with that, our fashion and clothing choices are changing too.
What we are starting to see is a whole generation that is shopping and supporting a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
This shift is on the verge of massive growth, mainly because of the pressure manufacturers are facing to produce cruelty-free clothing and apparel.
Hemp has now become the "Rock Star" in this long overdue movement and is leading the way for other eco-friendly materials to join the club.
Hemp and its eco-friendly friends are not only offering humans a healthier option, but have also given Mother Nature a much needed reprieve, thanks in part to modern and highly evolved cultivation systems that create less pollution and land disruption for our land.
You might be asking yourself-what in the world does hemp have to do with clothing and apparel, and why is it considered an eco-friendly alternative anyway?
Well, let's start with the differences between conventional fabrics and an eco-friendly one.
Conventional fabrics such as cotton, have been a main component of our apparel essentials for quite some time, but did you know that these traditional crops are sprayed with an exuberant amount of toxic pesticides each year, worldwide, which poisons our water, air, and soil, and has sever ramifications on our ecosystems, causing harm to animals, plants, and humans, all while soaking up our precious water supply, and depleting the ground of precious nutrients, wearing out the soil with every harvest?
Then, these crops are subjected to dyes, chemicals, and more pesticides, some of them being epigenetic, which means that the changes that these chemicals can make, can affect us as humans, on the genetic level by passing down heritable conditions to future generations.
Just knowing that there are alternatives, consumers are changing the way they purchase their wardrobes, and choosing eco-friendly fabrics over conventional materials.
Eco-friendly fabrics, such as hemp are so "green" that they are considered a carbon-negative crop, which means that it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows, retaing the carbon dioxide and then releasing the oxygen, it is also suggested that this may be a way to slow down the atmospheric and marine greenhouse gases.
Hemp requires no pesticides, needs very little weeding, and actually enriches the soil that it leaves behind.
Hemp can produce twice as much fiber per acre as cotton, and the land area it needs is only 25 x 25 square miles.
This is enough to produce enough fiber in one year to make a massive variety of clothing such as pants, dresses, hats, socks and more.
Is it any wonder that hemp has become the "Rock Star" in the clothing world?
Tell Me More About this “Rock Star” Hemp!
Hemp has been used by humans since 770 AD, and since that time, it has been used to make many products, from clothing to paper, to rope and everything in between.
Unlike cotton, hemp fabric becomes softer with use, and can absorb moisture very quickly to help keep the body dry and warm.
Hemp is also a very porous fiber that will allow the fabric to breathe, even in the summer, keeping the body cool.
Other natural fibers that are considered eco-friendly are bamboo, wool, silk, linen, and organic cotton (cotton that is grown in subtropic countries, without the use of chemically enhanced fertilizers or pesticides).
Hemp is a very versatile plant, as it is the longest and the strongest plant fiber around, making it a great resource for clothing and it's repeat usage.
As a matter of fact, hemp fibers are so strong that it is used in making ropes for the Navy (because of its strength), and Bibles are often made with hemp paper, because they last much longer than regular wood-based paper.
Hemp grows very quickly and is ready to harvest in only 120 days after being seeded, whereas it can take hundreds of years to grow and harvest trees for paper products.
Hemp prefers to grow in moderately cool climates, and the US is a great growing zone for it.
Another great thing about hemp made clothing is that is can naturally block more UV rays over non-hemp fabrics, and it doesn't create static electricity, this is because it has the same net static charge as our skin, and resonates perfectly with our electromagnetic field.
These are just a few of the many benefits of choosing to wear hemp attire, read on for more amazing benefits.
Here are 10 Amazing Benefits Of Wearing Hemp Clothing
1.) Hemp saves water by using very little to grow and process.
2.) Hemp has four times the strength of cotton and won't weaken when washed
3.) Hemp retains its color with natural dyes better than any other fabric
4.) Hemp can help to protect your skin from the harsh UV rays by filtering them out
5.) Hemp is bacteria resistant, meaning it can breathe and will prevent odors
6.) Hemp is harvested by hand, meaning more jobs
7.) Hemp is soft on the skin, and gets softer with wear
8.) Hemp has excellent insulation properties, which can keep you warm or cool.
9.) Hemp is perfect for people with chemical sensitivities, because of its natural processing techniques.
10.) Hemp clothing is very durable as well as bio-degradable, leaving a minimal ecological footprint in the life of the garment.
How Is Hemp Processed?
Hemp plants grow from seeds annually, and can grow in a range of different soils, but tend to grow best on land that can produce a high yield of corn.
The soil must be non-acidic and rich in nitrogen, as well as drained.
Hemp prefers mild and cooler climates, with a humid atmosphere, and rainfall of at least 25 inches per year.
Once the crop is ready to harvest, the woody core is separated from the bast fiber, then cleaned and matted for production.
Hemp fabric is made from the fiber strands of the plant.
Once they are separated they are spun together to produce a thread that can be woven into a fabric for apparel.
Isn’t Hemp Controversial?
In the United States, hemp is still illegal to grow, with the exception of some provisional states that have passed laws to grow hemp for research purposes, this provision is in part because of the Farm Bill that passed in January 2015, and allows colleges, universities and state agricultural agencies to grow and research hemp without being penalized by the Federal government.
This provision applies only to the states where industrial hemp is legal.
Understanding the differences between cannabis that is grown only for industrial hemp purposes as opposed to strains for marijuana consumption is important because hemp is bred for its seeds, oil and fiber and contains only trace amounts of THC (tetrahydocannabinol) or the chemical that can get a person "high", while marijuana on the other hand can contain more than 20% THC and is bred to produce very little fiber and not to produce the seeds that diminish the plant's psychoactive potency.
Strangely enough, the U.S. Government has a hard time distinguishing between the two very different plants, which are grown for very different purposes, meanwhile, industrial hemp is taking off all over the world due to the consumer demand for hemp clothing, oil, paper, and seeds.
As a matter of fact more that 30 countries grow industrial hemp with limited THC of 0.3%, again, not bred to make a person "high."
As more and more countries and states pass laws to incorporate the use of hemp derived products, I believe that we will see more and more products being manufactured and infused with it's "powerful goodness."
So, answering the question "isn't hemp controversial?"., the answer is yes, industrial hemp is legal in the U. S, but growing it is not, unless it is within the 16 approved states that have passed pro-hemp legislation.
There are no laws in the US or Canada that make the possession of hemp illegal, this includes the seeds, oil, fabrics or clothing, so purchasing a product with industrial hemp is completely allowed and may be shipped across state lines as long as it is under the legal limit of 0.03% THC and is INDUSTRIAL HEMP-which, all of the hemp clothing manufactures that I recommend are.
Where Can I Find Hemp Clothing?
There are a number of places that carry and ship hemp and eco-friendly apparel, one of them being the recognizable name brand of prAna, what sets this brand apart is that they live by the motto "Every Day is Earth Day" and they work hard to make sure that they are responsibly sourcing and giving back.
They offer a clothing for men and women and challenge consumers to start asking questions about their clothes in the same way that they would about the foods they eat, because by asking these questions, progress can be made in the way clothing is sourced, manufactured and enjoyed.
I am a huge fan of prAna, I find their apparel to be very comfortable, stylish, and of course eco-friendly, which my skin adores as well as my pocket book, because the more I wash and wear an item, the softer it becomes!
Here are a few of the "must have" items from prAna that I recommend to start your eco-friendly closet off right!
Switching your closet over to an eco-friendly one, make take time, but these items are sure to help you get started.
Feel free to leave a comment or two.
Author/Writer: Ilee DeSoto
Photo Credits: Unsplash