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High Fashion Hemp

Wearing hemp clothing is no longer a fringe, hippie fashion statement. In fact, big brands and high end boutiques alike are embracing the sustainable material.

Levi’s and Nike have both recently released ranges made of hemp. While Levi’s has long been the leader in denim, they’ve admitted their products aren’t the most eco-friendly, with the production of a pair of jeans and a t-shirt requiring approximately 20,000 litres of water. Using cottonised hemp and their patented “Water<Less” technology, Levi’s have devised an alternative to their traditional denim; with the company claiming that this new process can save up to 96% of the water normally used, thus saving 3 billion litres and recycling 1.5 billion litres of water so far. All items are designed to be recycled, too.

Nike has joined the hemp game with their new Air Zoom Type Hemp shoe. Collaborating with the British retailer Size?, it has the signature Nike look while using a hemp weave on the shoe’s upper, giving the classic Nike an earthy and minimalist spin.

But if you’re not into those big brands and you want something a little more boutique, hemp still has you covered. American fashion brand, Valani, have launched a biodegradable collection made of hemp, Tencel and banana silk. Promising that their hemp products aren’t scratchy but rather they’re soft and flowy; Valani assures customers their hemp clothing is hypo-allergenic, breathable and naturally resistant to bacteria.

If you’re looking for clothing closer to home, Biome is an eco-home and lifestyle store situated in Brisbane that also stocks a bunch of beautiful fashion. Biome has curated a collection of “slow fashion” that meets their ethical and sustainability standards. They have a huge range of hemp clothing for men and women, right down to socks and undies, plus bedding. You’ll be rolling in sustainable threads.

So, why embrace hemp? Keeping in mind that humans have been using hemp for textiles, rope, food and oils for approximately 10,000 years; supporting the use of hemp in a wide range of industries is nothing new.

Hemp is not only a more durable, insulating and absorbent fabric than cotton, it’s also 100% biodegradable. And considering 501,000 tonnes of leather and textiles were sent to landfill in Australia in a single year, waste is something everyone should be thinking about when looking at their sartorial choices.

Also, a staggering 63% of textile fibres are derived from petrochemicals, which in turn means an astounding level of carbon dioxide emissions. And while cotton seems to be the go-to natural option, to grow it requires copious amounts of water and pesticides leading to water depletion and pollution. As such the environmental cost of cotton is much higher than hemp, as it requires fewer pesticides and less water. Comparatively hemp grows quickly (pretty much half the time of cotton), it removes minimal nutrients from the soil and actually leaves the soil richer for future crops. Acre for acre hemp has cotton beat too, with 1500 pounds of hemp fibre being produced per acre as opposed to 500 pounds of cotton per acre.

So if hemp was fashion’s past, hopefully it can be fashion’s future. Biodegradable, sustainable, better for the planet and clothing that looks good too!

Learn how hemp fibre is produced for a range of applications; including textiles.

Kirby Gatsios
Kirby Gatsios is one of Hemp Gazette's staff writers, joining the team in 2020. Kirby has a personal interest in the use of cannabidiol (CBD) as a potential treatment for arthritis, and she’s also interested in the use of CBD for personal care. You can contact Kirby here.

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