Hello and welcome to Babble & Hemp - I'm thrilled you've found your way to my little hemp shirt business.
During the summer of 2018, a group of us from Edinburgh University were travelling around India. When we weren't playing street cricket or dodging tuk tuks, we were having an in-depth, behind the scenes tour of the fashion industry.
I visited enormous cotton farms and factories, and witnessed countless gallons of water and pesticides pumped onto the fields - before polluting rivers which locals downstream were washing in.
We soon learned that:
- One cotton shirt uses 2,700 litres of water throughout the growing and manufacturing process
- Cotton production uses 18% of the world's pesticides
...and yet, 400,000 tonnes of cheaply made, fast fashion garments are thrown into UK landfill each year.
These numbers horrified me, but there didn't appear to be any other way.
In Mumbai I learned about the incredible properties of hemp and the story of its fascinating history.
- Grows using only rainwater, and no chemicals (one hemp shirt uses only 600 litres of water to make)
- Gets softer with every wash
- Hollow fibres mean it breathes well in summer and insulates in winter
- Has been used for clothing for thousands of years
Back in London, well informed of both of cotton's environmental damage and the social harms of fast fashion, I searched high and low for quality, well designed, hemp clothing. When it turned out to be next to impossible to buy, it set off a spark in me.
In 2019, as I finished my degree, I knew there was a real potential to build something brilliant and shift consumer patterns away from cotton and towards hemp.
That is exactly what I did, going through dozens of samples looking for the best quality hemp mill and shirtmaker, and set about establishing the brand online and at Portobello Road Market.
And somewhere along the way, Babble & Hemp became the UK's first hemp shirtmaker.
Above all, my priority is to create shirts of the utmost quality which you will love for a long time - making a real change and increasing the awareness of this brilliant fabric.
Charlie Thomas Founder, Babble & Hemp