Is Hemp the Best Alternative to Cotton?

For years, sustainability enthusiasts have pushed for the use of cotton in favour of synthetic fibers that don’t decompose as easily or quickly as cotton. But on a closer look, it turns out that cotton itself is not as eco-friendly as we had thought. Could hemp be the solution?

While scientists and textile engineers are working to bring forth new sustainable materials, many are going back in history to revive some old ones. Hemp is making a major comeback in the fashion industry, owing to more relaxed rules around its cultivation and its scientifically backed sustainability.

Hemp has been used for apparel for centuries. In addition, hemp has been used to manufacture a variety of things people would use in their daily life. However, somewhere along the line, the use of hemp dwindled, mainly because of its close association with marijuana (yes, hemp and marijuana are from the same plant species).

Even though hemp plants don’t have the psychoactive properties like that of marijuana plants, they ended up getting the brunt of bans and restrictions. Now, things are turning around as people fighting for climate change have advocated for the use of hemp fiber vehemently. And now, with rules relaxing for recreational marijuana, the doors for hemp cultivation readily opened.

Benefits of Hemp for Fashion

Hemp clothing may be touted as more eco-friendly, but its benefits go beyond saving the planet. Did you know that hemp offers natural UV resistance? It can offer 99% protection as compared with cotton that only provides 50% protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Hemp plants are incredibly weather-resistant, which means they can grow even in harsh conditions. Those properties are transferred to the fiber as well, as hemp clothing is known to be durable.

Durability and sustainability go hand in hand as long-lasting clothes result in less consumption and less waste. It can even absorb dyes better than other organic fabrics like cotton or linen. So the colour lasts long as well.

Most importantly, the production of hemp fiber uses very little resources as compared with the production of cotton, or even polyester. Also, the hemp plant essentially borrows nutrients from the oil; it doesn’t deplete the land of those nutrients like cotton.

Future of Hemp Clothing

Hemp is gradually gaining the popularity it rightly deserves. It’s highly popular with sustainable and ethical fashion brands that mostly use organic, sustainable materials. Now, we are seeing brands that exclusively use hemp fabric for production.

The good news is that hemp isn’t limited to producing clothes. It can also be used to manufacture bags, shoes, sheets, etc. According to Allied Market Research, the global hemp market is projected to reach $18.6 billion by 2027.

Clearly, we have yet to see a lot from this old but revived sustainable material that fashion is gradually embracing!

La Jolie

For Elemntz