Demystifying Hemp Fabrics
Hemp fabric is gentle on the skin, and grows softer with each wear and wash. Hemp is anti-bacterial and provides natural UV protection resulting in saving our skin from skin cancer-like diseases. Hemp fabric clothing is fundamentally a “self-offsetting crop” that actually absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than plant habitation, which is why industrial hemp farms are ideal “carbon sinks”. Hemp is also said to grow quickly and takes around just 120 days to become the stalk. It literally prevents you from getting stinky as it is super absorbent and absorbs sweat and lets your skin breathe, gets softer with use, and is much stronger and long-lasting than the fabrics in the market like cotton. Hemp fabric can have some disadvantages as well that include a more limited variety of color than synthetics, it’s sober and minimalistic in terms of texture. However, goodness makes us feel and glorify the benefits more and the disadvantages can be overlooked. The hemp fabric lasts for a longer duration, as a result, it is sustainable; both for the environment as well your pocket! It is seen that hemp doesn’t wear out as quickly as cotton or any other synthetic fabric does. Hemp can retain its shape for a longer period and becomes softer after each wear and wash. Hemp is a more premium fabric because of these natures; organic, eco-friendly, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, UV protection, and absolutely natural!
Hemp promises to be the magical crop that can quench human’s need for fashion, nutrition, and even housing; without hurting the sustenance of our planet. Hemp fabric is a sustainable textile made of fibers of a very high-yielding crop in the cannabis Sativa plant family. Historically used for industrial purposes, like rope and sails, hemp is known as one of the most versatile and durable natural fibers.
Hemp uses about 5% the amount of water than any other fiber plant. Hemp can be grown in almost all soil conditions, and unlike cotton (which diminishes the nutrients of the soil) hemp’s deep-reaching roots preserve the soil. Hemp grows thickly leaving no room for weeds which means little or no use of pesticides. Additionally, hemp grows extremely fast, only needing 120-days to be ready for harvest.
Hemp is a high-yield profitable crop that flourishes in areas with temperate climates. It can be grown on a range of soils but tends to grow well on land that would yield corn. The soil needs to be well-drained, rich in nitrogen, and non-acidic. It is an annual herbaceous plant of the species Cannabis Sativa, meaning ‘useful hemp’ Hemp requires limited pesticides as it grows quickly, attracting few pests. Hemp grows successfully at a density of up to 150 plants per square meter and reaches a height of two to five meters in a three-month growing season.
How is hemp fabric made?
The steps of making hemp fabric are as follows:
- Retting (The process whereby naturally occurring bacteria and fungi, or chemicals, break down the pectin that binds the hemp fibers to be released. Common techniques consist of soaking in water, or laying on the ground and letting dew do the ‘retting’)
- Scutching (Beating stems, which separates the desired fibers from the hemp’s woody core)
- Hackling (combing of the stems to remove unwanted particles)
- Roving (improves strength)
- Spinning (can be wet and dry spun)
HEMP IS THE FUTURE
Hemp fiber or industrial hemp is obtained from the outer layer or the bast of the Cannabis sativa plant, which is more popular for producing marijuana or hashish. However, while marijuana contains 20 percent tetrahydrocannabinol content (THC) which causes the high when smoked, industrial hemp only contains 1 percent THC. This fiber has some incredible properties: it conducts heat, dyes well, resists mildew, blocks ultraviolet light, and has natural anti-bacterial properties. It is used in many industries including hemp paper, biodegradable plastic, construction, health food, chemical clean-ups, and fuel. Automobile companies like BMW use hemp fiber to reinforce their door panels for better safety standards. There’s even an urban legend that claims the first pair of Levis jeans were made from hemp!