While we are huge proponents of hemp-based care with CBD oil, there’s more to the cannabis plant than maintaining optimal wellness. This crop is hardy, sustainable and makes sturdy textiles. That’s why the next wave of the cannabis movement is evidencing itself in hemp fabric. So, what is hemp fabric and how can you incorporate this textile into your everyday life? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Hemp Fabric?
As you’d imagine, this fabric is material made out of hemp that can be used the same way you would use other textiles. The fibers that comprise its stalk are very strong, yet pliable. Because of these attributes, hemp fiber is an excellent resource for making items that will last long periods of time and withstand inclement weather conditions.
People use hemp fabric for:
As you can see, the range of uses for hemp fiber is quite extensive. A lot of these uses are rooted in ancient history. Let’s take a look at the long history of hemp.
History of Hemp Fabric
Hemp is only just now having its moment in the textile spotlight, but our history with the plant goes back centuries. In fact, some of the oldest ancient texts herald this crop for its many benefits. That’s why the Hindu scriptures, The Vedas, dubbed hemp one of the five essential plants.
Our ancestors used the flowers to make tonics and topicals. They were sustainable long before sustainable was cool. They used as much of the crop as they could, including the seemingly inedible and useless stalks. They used the hemp fibers to create ropes to use on their ships and fabric to create clothing for warmth and shoes to protect feet while exploring.
In fact, Christopher Columbus’s voyage ships were rigged with hemp. Once they landed in the New World, hemp became a staple crop for the new settlements. It actually became law in Jamestown for landowners to cultivate hemp. Some settlements even accepted hemp fabric as a form of tender. By the 1920s, up to 80% of clothing was made with hemp fabric.
Our dependency on hemp would continue until the early 1900s. However, with the prohibition of cannabis, hemp products became outlawed. Instead of using hemp fabric for clothing, people turned to cotton. Shoes were then made out of polyester and leather. Ropes were made out of twine.
Hemp was phased out of our everyday lives. However, this sustainable choice rose again. What was once old is new again and hemp is now the way of the future.
What Are the Benefits of Hemp Fabric?
With the rising interest in CBD oil, manufacturers are going through more hemp than ever. Hemp is one of our oldest friends. Current generations are beginning to understand why our ancestors loved this highly sustainable plant so much.
Hemp is Easy to Grow
There’s a reason why hemp made the rounds as our ancestors continued to move. It can survive a range of climates. Early records of hemp were found in present-day India and China. These countries are known for their warmer climates. If you want to grow hemp, you need temperate conditions like this in order for the plant to flourish. However, even the ideal weather patterns won’t make or break this plant.
Hemp is very sturdy and can endure a dramatic dip in temperature. That’s why hemp fabric can be traced back to colder regions such as Siberia and Russia as well. In fact, Russia used to be one of the largest exporters of hemp to the New World.
Hemp Fabric Yields a Lot of Fiber
Not only is hemp fabric better for the environment, but it’s also better for your bottom line as well. Like a gift that keeps on giving, you get a lot more fiber out hemp stalks than you do with other popular textile choices.
For instance, hemp fiber yields:
- 250% more fiber than cotton
- 600% more fiber than flax
So, not only can hemp fiber be grown in a variety of climates, but you can also get more hemp fabric per acre of growth. This sort of math makes not only environmental sense but financial sense as well.
Hemp Enriches Soil
In the world of agriculture, farmers are big fans of companion crops. Companion crops are plants that make it more advantageous for other plants to grow. Hemp is one of the best companion crops out there.
Hemp pays it forward to the soil that made it possible. This sustainable crop has shown to improve the microbial composition of the soil it came from. This means hemp makes the soil better for the next batch of hemp crops or other plants the farmer decides to cultivate.
Hemp Gets Softer with Time
One of the best reasons for wearing hemp fabric is that it’s comfortable. Just like our favorite pair of jeans, hemp fabric gets softer with time. You’ll love your hemp fabric when you first wear it and that appreciation will only grow stronger as the years pass!
How is Hemp Fabric Made?
Hemp fabric is derived from long strands of fiber. These fibers make up the stalks that offer structural support and nutrients for the flowers to grow. To break these fibers apart, they must go through a process known as retting.
Retting is when you soak the plant in a liquid. Anyone who has left a volleyball net or hammock in the rain can attest that these fibers loosen when wet. The same goes for hemp fabric. By retting the stalks, manufacturers can tear the fibers away from one another and into individual strands.
From there, the strands are woven together. This repurposes the fibers into textiles. You can manipulate the material to create hemp fabric that you can use to design clothing, shoes and bags. While hemp is a sustainable plant, some of the practices used to make hemp fabric aren’t. Let’s explain the differences so you can make an educated decision about your hemp fabric purchases.
What Are Poor Hemp Fabric Practices?
Weaving together hemp fibers can be taxing and time-consuming. While machines can help expedite the process, some companies look to cut even more corners. In these instances, they may use chemical solvents. These practices allow manufacturers to make more products at a cheaper cost, but these inorganic compounds may have an adverse effect on our ozone layer.
Furthermore, some companies dye hemp fabric to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Many of these dyes are made with inorganic ingredients. You want to make sure you are purchasing hemp fabric that hasn’t been treated. Aim for companies that use natural sources for color, such as using turmeric to make yellow dye or beet juice to create a red hue.
Who Sells Ethical Hemp Fabric?
While opting for hemp fabric can go a long way in helping the environment, we can also lose the hemp battle to greed. If we want companies to maintain ethical practices, we must vote with our dollars. When people continue to support businesses that cut corners, it only opens the door for others to follow suit. Set a precedent by choosing companies that sell ethical hemp fabric.
Some brands that sell ethical hemp fabric include:
When you see hemp fabric in a store, be sure to research the product before buying. Some companies may grow their hemp with pesticides. These practices are not only harmful to the environment but for the consumer as well.
Is Hemp Fabric the Future?
The world’s individuals are becoming more conscious of their spending habits every day. They’re waking up to learn how these decisions impact the environment as a whole. That’s why so many people are turning to hemp products.
Thanks to CBD oil, hemp seems to be the future for maintaining wellness. Additionally, the CBD oil industry may have just flipped the fashion industry on its head. Sustainability is the way of the future and you can’t get more sustainable than hemp fabric. If you want to see hemp fabric flourish, just be sure you are buying a product that is responsibly sourced.
Check into these brands to ensure they are following all-natural practices and that no synthetic dyes or chemicals were used during the process. By sticking to these criteria, you will help make sure hemp fabric becomes the fabric of the future.
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Joy Smith is Joy Organics Co-founder and visionary. After her own life-changing experience with CBD, Joy started Joy Organics to create a line of sustainable and premium CBD products consumers could trust. Before founding Joy Organics, Joy worked as an itinerant speaker, traveling to over four continents to empower women across the globe.