eco, hemp, tshirt, fashion

Day 89 / 365

I remember when I was young my hippie mama would go shopping at her friend Tara’s shop, the first fair trade shop in our city. She’d save up to get herself a new hemp dress and come waltzing into my room glowing with pride, and I, being the little jerk that I was, would say something to the effect of “ya it’s alright I guess”, then spend the rest of my life feeling guilty for my comments as I watched her face fall. I wore the hemp fisheman’s hat she bought me dutifully for years after that.

My mother was and still is a beautiful woman, inside and out, and has been well aware of all the things I’m now learning since I was small. Though I followed her rules and lived a vegetarian, eco lifestyle until I was old enough to fly the coupe, I always find if funny when I come face-to-face with studying a subject for this series which she would have happily educated me on back in the early 90s.

I am so truly my mother’s daughter afterall.

Hemp has a bad rep in the fashion industry for being ‘boring’ as my 12-year-old judgemental self so eloquently indicated. It also has a bad rep, with some, because it is derived from the marijuana plant and thus associated with dreadlocked hippies and stoners, despite having been used since 8000 B.C by the human race, before hippies and stoners were even a thing (I’m sure there were stoners then do but think they were just called ‘enlightened people’ back then … or recluse hermits … either way). So ingrained in human society, this plant was that, according to THIS infographic, even the U.S. Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.

Hemp has approximately 25,00 industrial uses and is 4x more sustainable as a pulp than timber. It is stronger and more durable than cotton and requires 50% less water than its cotton counterpart. (I wrote here about cotton needing 7.5 bathtubs of water to grow enough crop to make a t-shirt here, just to give you an idea of the environmental strains even cotton brings us)

Like bamboo, it grows extremely fast, you can yield a crop in as little as 4 months where as the trees which provide us with wood takes more than 30 years to be ready to harvest (plus we need them to breath, so we should probably just leave them where they are).

On a crop level, Hemp has numerous amazing qualities. First off, it can grow almost anywhere, even in dry regions, and as mentioned above, requires 50 less water than cotton. It has a short growing season (taking as little as 4 months compared to its cotton counterpart which takes about 9 months to grow). It I isn’t picky about the type of soil it gestates itself in and helps to purify the soil as it grows. 

Hemp also has a natural carbon emission as it creates a closed carbon cycle. Is is about 10x stronger than cotton, lasts longer, and produces about 200% - 250% more fibre per square metre compared to cotton and requires ZERO chemicals or pesticides to grow. Hemp is also an efficient insulator (it’ll keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer), and is uv resistant and anti –bacterial.

Speaking on an ecological and sustainable level, Hemp trumps cotton and bamboo in terms of crop growth and fabric creation techniques. The only non-ecological tainting it can receive in terms of clothing is treatment in chemical dye, so you want to check where your colour (or lack there of) is coming from when it comes to your hemp gear.

Some great Hemp brands I’m aware of are as follows, if you know of some others please comment below!

[Superego] Shane and I are pictured in this post wearing there shirts they sent us as a gift, and they provided me with some of the source information for this post through their incredibly helpful infographics. Their shirts are (super effing) soft and made with 60% Hemp and 40% Organic Cotton. I'll be writing up a story on their brand alone in the coming days so stay tuned for more info on them. You can check their shirts out here.

[Bewusst] This collection of hemp fashions from Berlin are handmade using 100% Organic Hemp. The hemp is grown and converted into fabric in Europe and each piece is sewn by the designer Tania Wachsmuth herself. You can find her beautiful creations here

[Rawganic] Manufacturing unique hemp clothing, home and footwear products in house, they grow, weave, knit and sew to ensure pure environmental sustainability. All their fibres are organically grown in the USA & Europe without pesticides. Each collection is hand-crafted through small scale productions in the USA, Canada and Europe. You can find their products here.

[Wallis Evera] This Canadian brand creates workwear for woman out of hemp fabrics which are dyed with reactive low impact dyes and pre-shrunk cationic softener, which is water-soluble. Each piece is made ethically as well making their circular story pretty dang clean. You can find their products here.

[Shift To Nature] These guys have some cute hemp dresses for women and shirts for men amongst their collections of eco friendly brands. Check their site out here..

TOM'S Traveler Sunglasses (bought second hand on ebay) 

Secondhand Sweatpants
*please note: I bribed my camera wielding, yet camera shy husfriend into participating 
in the photo taking ... genuinely against his will ... with the Superego's gifted t-shirt, and promises of backrubs ;)

eco, hemp, tshirt, superego, fashion

eco, hemp, tshirt, superego, fashion

Photos: Shane Wooward