Hemp has been used for clothing for centuries. In fact, it’s been reported that until the 1820’s, hemp provided textiles for 80% of all clothing. Even shoes! Often when people think about hemp fashion, they envisage a loosely woven scratchy material.  But that couldn’t be further from the beautifully soft hemp fabric we use and love.

Here at Thought we think hemp is an environmental, renewable, reusable and recyclable resource.  And there are so many reasons why it’s one of our favourite fibres.  Keep reading to discover why.

Thought timeless sustainable fashion brand spots and stripes

Why we love hemp

It’s grown in an eco-friendly way

Hemp is naturally pest-resistant, and it grows so densely that no other plants can grow around it. It requires little or no fertiliser and returns 60-70% of the nutrients it takes from the soil and can be grown in many different types of climates due to the little water it needs.

Hemp plants also have a clever, deep-root system that improves soil quality. This helps prevent soil erosion, removes toxins, and aerates the soil to the benefit of future crops.

We love its planet-friendly processing

It takes very little to turn hemp from a plant to fabric – it hardly needs any processing at all. Hemp fabric is made from the long strands of fibre that make up the stalk of the plant. These fibres are separated from the bark through a process called ‘retting’. The fibres are then spun together to produce a continuous thread that can be woven into a fine, linen-like fabric which gets used alone or blended with other fibres. It’s as simple as that!

It also needs very little water to thrive compared to the creation of other sustainable fabrics. Read about how hemp helps us save water here.

hemp fashion sustainable fabric

It is versatile and has some great properties

Once spun into a yarn, hemp can be blended with other fibres to make it even softer. We think it’s great to use alone or with organic cotton.

Hemp has some wonderful properties too. It’s stronger and more lasting than cotton; it softens with use and yet, remains hard-wearing. Hemp’s strength and durability means the fibres tend to keep their shape well. Hemp is also very breathable and hypoallergenic. It regulates your temperature, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter. It can also protect your skin from the sun to the equivalent of SPF 15 sunscreen!

hemp fashion sustainable fabric

After use, it biodegrades

Hemp fabric will biodegrade quickly. So when something’s beyond repair you can quite literally throw it to your compost heap (if you have one). It’ll naturally break down, although we recommend tearing or cutting it into pieces to help it along.

We affectionately call hemp ‘Helpful Hemp‘ and this is a great example why. Many farmers rotate their crops so to get the best out of their fields. Hemp is excellent for this as it improves soil quality, loosening it and helping rid grounds of weeds.

What do you love about hemp fashion? We’d love to hear! Let us know in the comments below. You might also enjoy reading our organic cotton post.