A naturally occurring plant, it was first spun into fabric 5,000 years ago by stripping fibres off the stalk to make extremely durable fabric.
Ancient Chinese dynasties were the first to turn it into clothing before it spread west where it was used as rope to construct the Egyptian Pyramids and onto Europe where its use in sails aided the expansion of empires and the discovery of the New World in 1492.
As a fabric it remains a surprisingly rare material, partly due to its higher cost compared to cotton and linen, and partly due to a general lack of awareness of it.
Hemp is coveted for its cool and soft feel whilst it crumples lightly next to the wearer's skin. The nature of it's hollow fibres means that it breathes well in summer, whilst insulating in winter. Perfect for wearing year round..
The finest hemp is a very durable, strong and comfortable fabric. The fibres do not stretch, and are resistant to damage from abrasion and washing - in fact, the more hemp is washed the softer it gets, wearing in over time.
With a lightly crumpled finish due to the inelasticity of its fibres, hemp has several unique properties:
- Its hollow fibres mean it breathes in summer, whilst insulating in winter
- Is four times more durable than cotton
- Grows without irrigation - just rainwater - meaning one hemp shirt uses about five times less water to make than a cotton shirt
- Is 100% biodegradable
- Grows without pesticide or chemicals
- Is resistant to mold
Why do I know so little about it?
Other uses for hemp, outside of being a fabric, were becoming so widespread and showing such potential in new areas that Henry Ford made his first prototype Ford Model T car in part from hemp plastic and ran it on hemp biofuel.
Oil and Steel conglomerates became so concerned at the potential hemp had to replace their industries that they lobbied the US Government to make it illegal to grow. Their argument was that it was linked to Cannabis, which at the time was becoming popular to smoke, and therefore must be outlawed. Unfortunately, they got their way and in 1937 the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, effectively banning it.
So how is it different from Cannabis?
The psychoactive property of Cannabis is called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The strand of Cannabis with psychoactive properties has a THC content of 20%. Hemp has a THC content of 0.3%. You can't get high from smoking our shirts, apologies to those disappointed.