A naturally occurring plant, hemp grows in warm climes all over the world without needing any help from water or pesticides. It was first spun into fabric 10,000 years ago by stripping fibres off the stem of the plant to make extremely durable fabric.
Being a readily available plant which made such durable properties hemp was used in various ways. Such things as the oldest recorded documents - Buddhist prints on hemp paper dating back to the second century, the US Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper, the sails and ropes of naval fleets - indeed it was so vital to economic progress that in England in the 1530s farmers were told to grow it by law. Incredibly, the county of Hampshire takes it name from its former 'Hempshire' on account of how much was grown there.
Does it make nice fabric?
Absolutely, so much so that up until the early 1800's an estimated 80% of clothing in the world was made from hemp. Unfortunately, processing it by hand was an extremely laborious process and the invention of the cotton gin saw cotton become massively more popular.
Hemp looks and feels just like linen and has the same brilliant properties such as becoming softer and softer over time and with more washes. Today, our mill in India takes advantage of technological progress to create 100% hemp fabric that is soft on the skin, durable and allows us to make shirts you will want to wear as much in five years time as the day you bought it.
Why do I know so little about it?
Uses for hemp were becoming so widespread and showing such potential in new areas that Henry Ford made his first prototype Ford Model T car 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.