What comes to mind when you hear the word hemp? Most people think of either cannabis or burlap sacs toted around by bare-footed hippies. Are they wrong? Perhaps not, but hemp is the most under-rated and under-appreciated plant out there in terms of all that it can do for its applications in fashion.
Hemp fabric comes from the hemp plant, a highly sustainable and low impact crop that requires very little water (1/4th of the water required to grow cotton), no pesticides, and returns 60-70% of the nutrients it takes from the soil. Hemp is naturally antibacterial, anti-microbial, UV resistant, biodegradable, and the crop yields almost double the amount of fiber per acre than cotton. It’s also extremely regenerative, as it grows quickly and densely with very little to no maintenance.
Basically, hemp is the holy grail of sustainable fabrics, not to mention it’s been cultivated for thousands of years (since 800 B.C.) for its use as food, textiles, paper, fabric and fuel oil. So why isn't hemp as popular a fabric as cotton? To be honest, probably simply because the hemp industry didn’t have the same financial backing as cotton to market it as “the fabric of our lives." Given all of its incredible characteristics that make it such a great sustainable fabric, we wanted to take part in bringing this fabric back which is why we are so excited to use it in our collection. Our Convertible Belt Bag in Indigo has an exterior entirely made of hemp, while our Convertible Belt Bag in Eco-Suede includes a vintage hand-embroidered hemp accent, but did you know almost all of our belts are made with natural organic hemp webbing?
We’re not the only ones making the most of hemp. Here are three hemp handed brands we recently fell in love with:
In 2010, Rob Jungmann started the brand of hemp clothing, Jungmaven, after considering hemps potential to mitigate climate change as one of the greatest opportunities of our generation. His hope was that the rise of industrial hemp could actually combat deforestation. If everyone wore a t-shirt made from hemp instead of cotton, the world might be a far better place. His designs are pretty damn cute too— your favorite, everyday basics but in hemp? sign me up!
photo: ma wovens
Ma Wovens is a fairly new company who has come out with something called the Ritual Rug, a handwoven versatile yoga mat made on floor looms in India. The Rug is made up primarily of organic hemp fiber sustainably sourced from China and non-toxic yoga mat rubber, providing a non-slip surface, as well as ample padding where needed.
photo: natasha tonic
Have you ever thought of swimming in it? Natasha Tonic is a line of swimwear centered around the hemp fiber, a fabric that allows for the swimsuit to perform double duty as lingerie, bodysuits or activewear and replaces the polyester found in typical swimwear which is not biodegradable and bad for the skin. The brand uses a mix of hemp/cotton/lycra for its swimsuits which are made locally here in Los Angeles. Even better, 5% of every swim suit sold is donated to 5 GYRES to help fight against plastic pollution in the oceans.
Lastly, you probably know about us (you're on our blog!), but just in case you don't, we make sustainable hands-free bags inspired to liberate women from their baggage. Even if you do know a little about our brand, you probably didn't know about the magical crop that is hemp or that we make bags and most of our belts from it. Shop our bags made of hemp: Convertible Belt Bag in Indigo, Convertible Belt Bag in Eco-Suede with Vintage Embroidered Hemp, all of our half moon bags and wallets have the option of a hemp belt as well including our Half Moon in Meadow, and Wallet in Moss.