The fashion industry is increasingly becoming concerned about sustainability practices and they are looking for sustainable materials and innovative alternatives. Nowadays, we are more aware of the environmental impact of human action and this includes the fashion industry. There is a lot that goes to the procuring of raw materials for fabric and for the most part, these practices are not sustainable.
Hemp fibre is a versatile material that can be used for so many things including hemp bags, clothing, ropes, paper etc. There are so many brands that are adopting this material to create items. It is natural plant fibre that is taken from the stem of the Cannabis plant. Its impact on the environment is minimal. When the hemp crop is growing, its need for water is small and it also improves the health of the soil as it replenishes soil nutrients. Hemp is also biodegradable including the materials made from it. But this doesn’t affect its strength. It has high strength and it has many beneficial properties such as insulation, anti-bacterial and anti-radiation properties. It is a durable fabric that can be used for many applications. Hemp is used around the world because of its availability and durability.
Hemp production is very labour intensive. There are so many processes that are carried out to process it into the fabric that you see today. Some farmers plant for higher yields while others plant for a smaller yield so that they can control the quality of the fabric that can be made. After the stems are harvested, they will be placed on the ground and left for many weeks for retting. This allows pectin which is what binds the hemp fibres together decompose. The fibre is separated from the bark in this process. The central woody core from the stem is then removed after retting. The scratchy texture of traditional hemp can be avoided when you remove lignin. Once you get soft fibre, you can spin them into long threads that are woven into fabric. You can also blend the threads with other natural fibres like bamboo.
Hemp feels very similar to cotton but it can be slightly rougher. It is a lot stronger than the cotton fabric and therefore, clothing made out of hemp will last longer. It is also a lightweight breathable fabric that will be comfortable against the skin. You can easily wear this material in tropical weather and it is easy to store help products as they are resistant to mould and mildew. Organic hemp fibre is biodegradable and you can compost it. This will prevent them from ending up in landfills. Hemp fibres can also block UV rays better than polyester. Even if you have sensitive skin, hemp can be used safely because it is hypoallergenic. However, there are some drawbacks to using hemp as well. There is a specific odour to pure hemp fabric and it doesn’t have the whiteness that cotton has. Therefore, it requires more bleach. The supply of hemp is limited because only a small amount of the crop is grown when compared to cotton.