Hemp: The Benefits of a Superior Fabric
More than just perfectly suited to a summer’s evening stroll along the Thames, or lunch in Tuscany - the benefits of hemp clothing run far deeper than the wearer often knows.
Here are just some of the main benefits of hemp clothing.
- Uses five times less water than cotton
- Fabric that softens over time
- Is UV resistant
- Grows on small amounts of land
- Hemp is both antimicrobial and durable
- Purifies the soil it grows in
- Hemp is carbon negative
- Is the strongest natural fibre after silk
Uses five times less water than cotton
Usually crops that we need for clothing consume enormous amounts of water through irrigation - reducing limited freshwater supplies. The story of the disappearance of the Aral Sea is well told and adds colour to this - unfortunately not well told enough or else far less cotton would be used.
A cotton shirt uses around 2,700 litres of water through irrigation and processing in the factory. However, as hemp grows using just rainwater - the only water consumed in making a hemp shirt is at the shirtmakers - a total of 600 litres.
NB - the photo is indeed a vineyard. Why? Everyone loves vineyards.
Fabric that softens over time
Like linen, hemp starts as a crisp, fine fabric and only improves as time goes on as the clothing becomes washed and worn. The fibres wear down to become softer, but because they are naturally so strong, hemp will outlast all other fabrics. The beauty of Babble & Hemp shirts is that they wear in, not out - like other fabrics.
Resistant to Ultraviolet
Adding to the plethora of hemp clothing’s benefits is its resistance to ultraviolet light. Naturally resistant to UV rays means that colour will not fade, and the fabric will not disintegrate from sunlight as quickly as other fabrics.
All this means hemp will protect your skin from the sun in both directions as it shines down from above and reflects off the Mediterranean waters below. Or the window above our laptop..
Needs small amounts of land
Sometimes people ask how hemp is more environmentally friendly and sustainable than linen. It’s a close one, but hemp has a shorter growing season, meaning that over the course of a year hemp will produce about twice as much fabric as linen - on the same area.
This means that large quantities of fabric, enough for plenty of brilliant shirts, can be made from small parcels of land. Putting tiny amounts of stress on the world, and allowing more space for golf courses. Win win.
Hemp is both antimicrobial and durable
Being antimicrobial might not be the most self explanatory phrase we’ve ever used.
Essentially, hemp fabric is resistant to mold and odours, so it takes bad bacterias longer to form, meaning the clothing stays cleaner and smells better for longer.
As it’s antimicrobial it is much more resistant than most natural textile fibres, and so where other fabrics will wear over time - hemp holds its shape and will last much longer.
Purifies the soil it grows in
Usually growing crops depletes the nutrients in the soil as they are sucked up to help with growth. Hemp plants actually do the complete opposite and restore the vital nutrients back into the soil - meaning there is no need for the usual crop rotation process.
Unusual one..but after the disaster at Chernobyl, the Ukrainian government planted tonnes and tonnes of hemp seeds to help suck up the toxic chemicals and to restore the soil!
Bizarelly, Chernobyl is now a tourist spot..but you're only allowed in for half an hour!
Hemp is carbon negative
Frankly, enormous amounts of energy is needed to create man-made polymers such as polyester, and even larger amounts of pesticides are sprayed on cotton. Carbon is a core ingredient of pesticides and then after all this - huge amounts of clothes get incinerated after a few wears!
Not only does hemp need no man-made chemicals, but it actually sucks tonnes amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere.
More hemp shirts means more carbon sucked out of the atmosphere. Terrific.
Super strong fibres
After silk, hemp is the strongest natural fibre. This means that even though it's a soft fabric, Babble & Hemp shirts are extremely durable, tough to tear and very long lasting.
Hemp’s uses over the centuries have been widespread, from ship sails, to canvases for Italian masterpieces.
Over the last ten years or so, research and development has allowed mills to produce it in finer and finer threads, enabling us to make hemp shirts so beautifully soft against the skin and ideal for a cool, relaxed look.