A Field of Industrial Hemp
Exactly what are hemp clothes, you may be asking yourself at this point. To answer that, you must first understand that hemp is not the same plant as marijuana, which is a common misconception. It is true that they are closely related; the biggest difference being that hemp is very fibrous and useful for making a large variety of products and marijuana is only ever used as a recreational drug. Hemp has very low amounts of THC, a chemical that has a mind altering affect, and marijuana has very high amounts of THC. Hemp is indeed an environmentally friendly, helpful and versatile plant that we should explore more. One product that hemp is useful for is making clothing.
Why Choose Hemp Over Cotton?
The hippies were onto something, because hemp is a wonderful material to choose to wear for many reasons. It is more durable, resistant to mold and bacteria and it is more environmentally friendly to grow than cotton. I say more durable because hemp has approximately eight times the tensile strength when compared to cotton. This is a huge difference, and a potential money saver; think about how much longer your clothing will last. As to the mold and bacteria, hemp has properties within the fibers that make it less susceptible to growing those nasty microscopic mildew-y things. To explain how it is more environmentally friendly, let's compare the two. Hemp requires very little to no pesticides and herbicides to grow a healthy crop. Cotton takes up about one quarter of all chemicals used worldwide to grow successfully. Hemp doesn't need irrigation to grow, and cotton uses up 50% more water than hemp. Cotton also requires almost twice as much land to grow to get the same amount of product per ton.
To me, these are very compelling reasons to choose hemp over cotton and most especially over synthetic materials, because who figures we should wear man made materials? Natural materials are better for the environment and better for people.
Who Makes These Fabulous Hemp Clothes, Anyway?
In years gone by, hemp was the material of choice for making rope, canvas, lantern oil and denim jeans, among many, many other things. Gold miners from 100 years ago wore hemp pants as a choice because they were more durable than other materials available. The pockets were extra reinforced with studs to accommodate the heavy gold that they carried in them. These were in fact the original Levi 501's. You can even go so far as to say that hemp was a fashion forward leader in this aspect, having invented jeans and all.
Many of the fashion leaders are using hemp cloth in their designs, such as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Armani, Patagonia and Ralph Lauren to name a few. This is a healthy trend that we should all encourage by supporting these styles, because the more we use and want, the more the designers will listen and the more they will make this fabulous material available to us.
What Else is Hemp Good For?
There are literally thousands of products that hemp is used for. Some of these include food, building materials, textiles, paper, diesel fuel and plastic. This is a short list and doesn't include the full scope of hemp potential, but it does give you the idea of how wonderful, useful and powerful it truly is. This is a plant that we should all be supporting in whatever way that we can, whether that be by using hemp products, talking about hemp or even what I'm doing here which is writing about hemp. Every little bit of truth and awareness we can bring back to hemp is a positive step that will help the environment.
Unfortunately, hemp was made illegal along with marijuana, even though one really has nothing to do with the other. The reasons are political and too involved for this hub, but what it comes down to is this: hemp was given a bad name for it's distant relation to weed. There are even conspiracy theories that suggest the cotton, lumber and oil industries conspired to have it done this way, to label hemp as a dangerous drug and together they successfully made hemp illegal so that they could dominate their respective industries without threat. Hemp is in reality and fact a helpful, useful and versatile plant that has hundreds of uses.
Together, We Will Make a Difference
So there it is, so many reasons to support hemp clothing. It is more environmentally friendly, more durable, natural and even many of the top designers are using it. What more do I need to say? Hemp was the wave of the past and now it is the wave of the future. Personally, I am glad that this is a new trend, because it is exactly what the world needs right now. I choose to wear hemp because I believe that it makes a big impact toward a healthier environment. It is my small contribution to do so... and I hope you choose to do same.
Lanie Robinson (author) from Canada on December 21, 2020:
There was never an good reason to ban hemp - it has done nothing but aid human kind since the time of the Romans. As for the conspiracy...you may be right. I have edited the article in response to your challenge as I couldn't find any direct evidence online to back it up. Thank you for your thoughts
Hello on April 16, 2013:
*sniffs air* yep, clothing, greeeeat. Especially if there's a fire.
I highly doubt there was 'a conspiracy against hemp' and that it was banned for good reason. Extensive testing has been done with all banned substances, some taken off the banned list, others put on, all because their effects on humans. I'm not quite sure of the exact reasons why, but I'm determinded to find out. Thank you for your efforts in this article
Sommer Dalton on September 13, 2012:
I didn't even know they made clothing out of hemp! Love this article voted up and more!!