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#Whatsinmyclothes: Discovering Hemp

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

After starting a series on "Who made my clothes?", I thought it was important to also have one on "What's in my clothes?". Indeed, FVA Alternative Business Wear goal is to walk in the Slow Fashion movement. Slow Fashion can be split into two branches: (1) ethical fashion and (2) sustainable fashion. Whereas ""Who made my clothes?" is direct call for ethical fashion, "What's in my clothes?" relates to sustainable fashion. Thus, I am presenting you the first article discussing about the components from which FVA's selection of clothes and accessories are made of. I wanted to start with hemp because I think this material is the most thought-provoking. Hemp is first known by everyone for its psychotropic characteristics. Yet, it has great advantages as a plant per se but also as a fashion material. Undeniably, it is slowly making itself a path to our wardrobes. However, barriers still exist. The life cycle of this fiber is examined below.

Hemp as a Plant

Hemp as a plant has true ecological impacts. The structure of hemp fiber is similar to that of cotton, but its cultivation is much more environmentally friendly. One acre of hemp produces more oxygen than 25 acres of forest. Hemp plants grow quickly and reach the harvest stage in just under 100 days. Hemp's water requirements are about a quarter of that of cotton and, in most cases, hemp plants do not need to be protected against pests with pesticides. Yet, its production is less economical than cotton. This is why it is less demanded in the fashion industry. Once again, the World is face with a trade-off between ecology and economy.

Hemp as a Textile Fiber

Then, the textile properties of hemp also need to be highlighted. Allergy sufferers and people with sensitive skin tolerate hemp clothing much better than others. People who perspire a lot can avoid skin irritations: the fibers absorb sweat quickly without the fabric sticking to the skin. Hemp clothing can absorb up to 30% of the moisture, so even on hot days there is almost no smell. The material is very easy to care for, stronger and more tear-resistant than other fabrics.

Hemp and Recycling

The recycling rate of clothes made of hemp is higher than that of cheap clothing. According to a report published by the Tages Anzeiger, the quality of fast fashion also poses problems for textile companies. Textile recyclers cannot use these discarded garments. In contrast, clothes in good condition can be worn again and new textiles or insulation materials can be created from them. Recycling helps to preserve natural resources, thus reducing the ecological impact of your purchases. This also means that it will be easier to sell in second hand the items made of hemp you do not wish anymore in your wardrobe. This is all good for Second Hand September...

Despite all those benefits, hemp is not yet in our habits. It is thus our duty to discover it, use it and create demand for it to the fashion industry.

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