Why Buy Hemp Clothing?
Believe it or not, hemp was among the first textile materials used by modern man. For centuries, people valued hemp textile for its versatility, comfort, and accessibility.
Even the global regulations surrounding hemp cultivation, production, and processing couldn’t curb the eventual resurgence of this ancient fabric as a force to be reckoned with.
Which begs the question: why should you buy hemp clothing?
To answer this question, it helps to understand what makes hemp such an excellent fabric, to begin with.
So, keep reading to find out all about hemp and why you should consider purchasing hemp clothing.
The gradual depletion of the ozone layer due to climate change has led to several consequences, the most dangerous of which is lessened protection against ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This increased UV radiation from ozone depletion has been linked to higher skin cancer rates globally.
Although the Montreal protocol banned chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the primary chemical compounds responsible for depleting the ozone layer, it will still take a long time for the ozone layer to naturally recover. Until then, we must take every precaution to protect ourselves against the harmful effects of UV radiation.
As it turns out, hemp is highly effective at blocking UV rays, offering up to 99% protection from UVA and UVB rays compared to cotton’s 50%. Hemp clothing thus offers a natural, chemical-free alternative to sunscreens for UV protection.
A major concern for fashion consumers is protecting against bacteria and other harmful pathogens. Protection against bacteria is especially a concern for those residing in countries with hotter climates or those who frequently engage in sports or outdoor activities.
Hemp has well-known antibacterial properties that scientists have extensively studied in recent years. Researchers at the North Carolina State University found hemp to be effective against a host of harmful bacteria, particularly S. aureus— the leading cause of skin infections worldwide.
Hemp clothing can therefore help protect the wearer against bacterial skin infections.
Whether or not you advocate for sustainable fashion, you would still want your clothes to last you a long time.
It should come as no surprise, though, that fast fashion relies on the short lifespan of cheap, delicate, and mass-produced clothes. What better (and more convoluted) way to motivate you to overhaul your wardrobe every season, if not every few weeks?
But if you’re a conscious consumer, you know better than that.
Compared to its traditional alternatives, Hemp fabric is considerably more durable. It’s so durable, in fact, that it was a popular choice of textile for sailors to fashion their uniforms, ropes, sails, and other sailing equipment.
The durability of hemp owes to its manufacturing processes, which produce much sturdier and resilient fibers than, say, cotton or linen. As such, your hemp clothes will be less susceptible to premature wear and tear.
Not only that, but hemp fabric is able to retain color much better than its counterparts. Its high absorbency allows the dyes to latch onto the fibers with ease, meaning that no amount of washing will fade its color.
Have you ever wondered what happens to your clothes once you’re done wearing them for good? Shockingly, 85% of our clothes end up in landfills.
A predominant reason behind this harrowing statistic is the fact that many clothes are almost impossible to recycle and decompose. Hemp fabrics, on the other hand, are a different story.
Owing to their longer and stronger fibers, it is easy to break down and recycle hemp fabrics into other textiles.
Moreover, hemp fabrics, as well as other hemp products, are 100% biodegradable. Not only that, but hemp clothes are also easy to compost. In other words, hemp grown in soil will ultimately return to it.
Our planet has been projected to plunge into a water crisis in upcoming years, with some places already hit with severe droughts and freshwater shortages.
Other than using proper water management and conservation techniques, switching from traditional materials to less water-heavy alternatives is another method that may help avert this crisis.
Here’s an example: the cotton crop requires heavy amounts of water to reach full maturity for harvest, averaging 9873 liters of water for 1 kg of raw cotton imported to the UK. By comparison, traditional hemp farming methods only need an average of 2721 liters to produce 1 kg of useful hemp fiber.
So there’s really no contest between cotton and hemp clothing when it comes to conserving water; hemp clothing is in a league of its own entirely.
The aforementioned properties of hemp fabrics ultimately help you reduce your overall ecological footprint. From the cultivation and processing stage to the disposing phase, hemp fabric is considerably less exploitative towards the environment.
Indeed, hemp cultivation and fiber production require the least amount of energy compared to cotton and polyester. Not only that, but hemp plants are notorious for regulating soil health; they merely “borrow” the soil’s nutrients and eventually return up to 60% of the nutrients back to the soil.
Moreover, these biodegradable and compostable fabrics also help you reduce your carbon footprint. Their idyllic end-of-life stage allows them to give back to the environment rather than worsening it by burning in landfills.
Sustainable fashion goes hand-in-hand with ethical fashion. In fact, sustainable fashion falls under the umbrella concept of ethical fashion, which focuses on working conditions, labor exploitation, fair trade, ethical sourcing, animal welfare, and so on.
Many consumers of the fast fashion culture unknowingly participate in the unethical practices that go into making their clothes. From extremely low wages to non-existent labor rights, the true cost of our favorite fast fashion clothes is the exploitation of underprivileged workers.
For this reason, you’ll find that many hemp fabric brands, such as Hemp and Hope, emphasize their ethical sourcing and production practices.
If you’ve been feeling iffy about your choice of clothes, you have every reason to do so. The global textile industry has become highly problematic vis-a-vis environmental degradation, human welfare, and animal rights.
Hence, hemp clothes are a good starting point to break free from this cycle of exploitation and abuse.
But apart from being ecologically friendly, hemp clothes are also superior in terms of quality, comfort, and health.
With everything considered, the real question is: why shouldn’t you buy hemp clothes?