The Many Benefits of Hemp Fabric
Environmental and health- conscious consumers are concerned about the products they buy, but buyer beware, because labels can be misleading. For example, organic cotton does not mean chemical-free and environmentally- friendly does not necessarily mean chemical-free. Consumers aren't always told whether the garment has been chemically- altered at some stage of the process from, the harvesting to the final stages of fabric manufacturing.
Although environmental and health conscious consumers have traditionally favored cotton fibres over synthetic clothing, cotton is one of the most environmentally unfriendly crops grown. Although organic cotton standards have helped to decrease the impact that cotton crops have on the environment, there is still a great need for improvement.
Hemp leaf against blue sky In contrast to organic cotton, hemp grows extremely fast, producing more fiber yield per acre than any other source. Hemp can produce 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax using the same amount of land. The acreage needed to obtain equal yields of fiber places hemp at an advantage over other fibers. hemp leaves the soil in excellent condition for any succeeding crop, especially when weeds may otherwise prove troublesome. Where the ground permits, hemp's strong roots descend three feet deep or more, anchoring and protecting the soil from runoff and building and preserving topsoil and subsoil structures similar to those found in forests. Moreover, hemp does not exhaust the soil. hemp plants shed their leaves all through the growing season, adding rich organic matter to the topsoil and helping it retain moisture. Farmers have reported excellent hemp growth on land that has been cultivated steadily for nearly 100 years.
As an alternative fabric, hemp provides all the warmth and softness of a natural textile but with a superior durability seldom found in other materials. hemp is extremely versatile and can be used for countless products such as clothing, accessories, shoes, furniture, and home furnishings. Clothing made from hemp incorporates all the beneficial qualities of an earth-friendly product and will likely last longer than clothing made of cotton and other fiber. The strong fibers make hemp clothing withstand harsh conditions, be it weather, work, or daily life . Blended with other fibers, hemp incorporates the desirable qualities of both textiles. The soft elasticity of cotton or the smooth texture of silk combined with the natural strength of hemp creates a whole new genre of fashion design. There is some controversy about the availability of certified organic hemp fabrics. To our knowledge none exist. Tthere is some question about cotton fabrics remaining ÏorganicÓ after sizing and other finishing processes. Unless a third party has certified that the fabric is organic, the consumer is left with apromise from the manufacturer. So, in the meantime, look for the "Sustainable/Biodegradable Products" label and rest assured you are getting an environmentallysafe product. Barbara Filippone of EnviroTexiles has developed this program to reassure consumers that hemp is healthy, even if it is not certified organic.