A Guide To Hemp: The Miracle Crop that Could be the Future of Fashion!
What is Hemp?
Hemp is one of the most undervalued and least understood plants in the world today. Unfortunately, hemp is typically associated with only one thing, marijuana, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are over a dozen different species of Cannabis plants, Hemp generally refers to the Cannabis sativa plant. The Hemp strain of the Cannabis sativa plant carries industrial and commercial uses through the utilization of cannabis seeds, stalk, and fiber. The term “Marijuana” refers to the Cannabis plant breed with higher THC concentrations and is generally used for recreational purposes.
A Brief History
Cannabis plants have been bred and utilized throughout history, from ancient China to the United States. It wasn’t until the late 1930s that the first federal regulation on cannabis was enacted, which taxed the sale of cannabis. From that point, it was a downhill slide for the cannabis plant. The 1950s saw laws enacted that classified hemp into the same category as marijuana which would have a profound impact on Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs” which began in the early 1970’s. In the years leading up to the “War on Drugs” various smear campaigns were run to shift public opinion on the Cannabis plant, including the notorious film Reefer Madness. But recent pushes by environmental groups, drug legalization activists, and various other groups have shaped a new future for this plant. On February 7, 2014, President Barack Obama, signed the Farm Bill of 2013 and under section 7606, permitted state Departments of Agriculture and higher education institutions to grow industrial hemp. State level legislation means that anyone certified by the state is allowed to grow hemp. However, given the current political climate, growing hemp is still a struggle.
Hemp vs. Cotton
Globally, clothing is generally made with cotton and a blend of various other threads. The production of cotton in general puts a massive toll on the land that it is grown on. For starters, to produce a single pound of cotton requires over a thousand gallons of water! Hemp requires half of the water, grows faster, and produces double the fibers a cotton crop the same size would. Less water usage, and less land cleared for production allows for a healthier environment. Cotton requires pesticides to be grown effectively and accounts for roughly 24% of the total chemicals for agriculture sold worldwide. Hemp beats out weeds that would overtake cotton, requires no pesticides, and in various studies has shown to clean heavy metals and other pollutants from soil. Overall, hemp is a cleaner alternative for the environment.
Moving Forward with Hemp
Nowadays, new clothing companies and other fabric goods companies are created every single day. With more entrepreneurs looking for cost effective ways to produce product, the environmental impacts of their new brand might not be their main concern or something they are even aware of. With new streetwear trends being created every day, there is a constant need for more cotton. One of Superego’s goals is to transform this need for cotton into a need for hemp. Hemp is a tougher fabric and does not degrade over time like its cotton equivalent. So when you buy an exclusive limited release cotton based shirt, you expect it to be durable and long-lasting. Hemp clothing stands up to washes, keeps you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and even has anti-microbial properties!
Another benefit of using hemp is not having to use man-made/synthetic fibers. These synthetic fibers are not naturally occurring and require a large amount of chemical treatments. Clothes that are “wrinkle-free”, “stain resistant”, or “odor resistant” are generally treated with harsh industrial chemicals to give clothing these various attributes. These various chemicals can cause cancer and a multitude of other health problems with constant exposure.
Hemp clothing is cleaner in production, lasts longer and has benefits that normally need to be chemically induced in other fiber types. The longevity of hemp clothing would mean clothes last longer, requiring less production in general. For a world looking for solutions to heal the planet, hemp is a vital component that needs to be seriously integrated into society. Superego’s goal is to be a leader in the hemp renaissance and to spread a culture of sustainability and enlightenment with it. Will you join the movement?