In today’s world, consumer demand is king. Looking at the fashion industry, it seems that people’s purchasing habits are beginning to reflect a greater emphasis on the environment. Within this dynamic, hemp fabric is becoming a global force in sustainable clothing production.
Due to growing concerns with environmental issues like global warming, we are seeing a rising interest in renewable resources like hemp. When it comes to the clothing business, hemp fabric shows great promise as a comfortable and durable material. Even more, it is an eco-friendly alternative to cotton and synthetics.
Below, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of hemp fabric to provide the valuable insight you need about this incredible material.
What is Hemp Fabric?
Hemp fabric is made from the long inner fibers of the stalk known as “bast.” When processed, these fibers are eventually turned into yarn, which is then woven into hemp cloth. Hemp clothing is extremely strong, and it can also be comfortably worn directly against the skin.
Today, hemp fabric is made into a diverse array of clothing, including baseball hats, t-shirts, knit hats, belts, sweatshirts, activewear, button-downs, underwear, and much more. Companies even make diapers from hemp cloth.
When you consider both industrial hemp and CBD hemp, there are near endless applications for this plant. While CBD hemp is grown for cannabinoid-rich flowers, industrial hemp is grown for its fibrous stalks. It is precisely these stalks that are eventually processed into hemp textiles.
How to Make Hemp Into Fabric
Over the years, manufacturers have developed a number of steps to transform bast fibers into hemp fabric. These are as follows:
- Harvesting is the process of cutting down hemp plants and turning them into bails. There is a variety of industrial farming equipment that is for this process.
- Retting is the practice of letting hemp stalks decay in the field so fibers are easier to separate. Certain hemp growers also practice retting after harvest in water tanks.
- Breaking hemp stalks separates the bast from the hurd. The bast is kept for fibers, while hurd is used for other purposes like animal bedding.
- Scutching hemp bast is the practice of pounding the materials to further remove impurities.
- Hackling is the process of using a “comb” to clean and straighten hemp fibers. This step can be very time-consuming without the proper equipment.
- Roving hemp fibers is the practice of twisting them to make them stronger.
- Spinning is when hemp fibers are finally turned into yarn. This yarn is then woven into fabrics.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hemp Fabric
In assessing hemp as a legitimate source of materials, it’s important to take a critical look at the cultivation and processing of the plant. In doing so, you will gain a better grasp of both the advantages of disadvantages of hemp fabric. This notion is particularly important regarding cotton, as many feel hemp will come to replace this popular source of fabric.
- Easier and cheaper to grow than cotton
- More eco-friendly than petroleum-based synthetic fibers
- Has a 25% greater yield than cotton
- Has a 600% greater yield than flax
- Hemp fabric is soft, durable, absorbent, protective
- Hemp plants require specific environmental conditions for good fiber production
- Some hemp crops produce more hurd than bast
- Separating fibers from stalks can be time-consuming
- Hemp fibers are more expensive to process than cotton fibers
Looking at the logistics of hemp fabric production, it’s evident that this material is a great business option. From cultivation to harvest, hemp outperforms cotton in a variety of ways. Moreover, as new technologies for hemp manufacturing are developed, it’s likely that logistical hurdles with separating and processing hemp fibers will be overcome.
How Sustainable is Hemp Fabric?
While hemp fiber is a very attractive material in a business sense, it also has incredible benefits when it comes to the environment. In nearly every step of production from cultivation to processing, hemp fiber offers a green alternative to more traditional types of fabric.
When compared to cotton, hemp plants are easy to cultivate and good for the environment. Hemp can be grown without the use of excessive fertilizers, insecticides, and water. Even more, while cotton is notorious for leaching the soil of nutrients, hemp makes soil stronger and healthier. The overall ecological footprint of hemp is far less than that of cotton. Not only does hemp have a significantly higher yield per hectare than cotton, but it only needs ⅓ of the water to grow.
Hemp fabric is also a great alternative to synthetic fabrics. Because synthetic fabrics are made from petroleum, they are both nonrenewable and nonbiodegradable. The process of manufacturing synthetic fibers contributes large amounts of carbon to the atmosphere. Conversely, when cultivated, hemp helps clean soil of toxins and pollutants through the process of “bioremediation.” Hemp farms operate as “carbon sinks” to help remove excess carbon from the atmosphere.
At High Grade Hemp Seed, we are thrilled to be at the cutting edge of the hemp movement.
Whether it be healthy foods, CBD products, or sustainable textiles, hemp has near-endless applications. From paper to building materials, there are over 25,000 different products made from industrial hemp. As we look for ways to solve environmental issues, it seems hemp may hold the key to the future. Perhaps hemp’s most important role is to lessen our dependence on fabrics made from unsustainable resources like cotton and petroleum.
An overall shift in global values has begun to influence the way people shop. Eco-conscious brands like Patagonia have become popular not just because they look good, but also because they maintain green environmental initiatives. All things considered, hemp is perhaps the perfect material for the future of the clothing industry.
Contact High Grade Hemp Seed
High Grade Hemp Seed is proud to be a thought leader in the hemp space. Not only do we offer some of the best CBD hemp seeds on the market, but our team is highly educated on the societal benefits of industrial hemp. Please contact us to learn more about hemp textiles.