- Kasturi Goswami
Tripping Over Hemp Fashion
The abyss of consumerism throttles individuals at the top of their fashion game to fall prey to fast fashion. Thus, indirectly contributing towards exhausting resources and production of synthetic alternatives which wound our environment. Now, in an attempt to undo the harm, the fashion world is turning wheels towards recycling, eco-friendly and sustainable products and brands. In this gradual process, Hemp fibre is becoming one of the prominent prospects, painting a green path allowing some relief to Mother Earth.
Cannabis sativa or Industrial Hemp is a fast-growing herbaceous species originating in Central Asia. It is widely used as a drug for its pharmaceutical properties and now, its use as a textile fibre is gaining popularity.
Hemp fabric history dates back to almost 10,000 years. Remanents excavated in countries like Iraq and China indicates an almost customary use of the fabric.
100% Hemp fabric was never popular due to its coarse nature, hence it remained the poor men's fabric. After the fabric was industrially softened, it was considered an option for clothing lines. However, its disappearance for a couple of years in between has had people now rediscovering it all over again.
Hemp fibre is almost 62% more durable than cotton, requires 400 times less water and time to produce, is antibacterial and offers UV protection.
The advent of Hemp in the Indian fashion scenario was pioneered by BOHECO's BLabel and Hemp Fabric Lab. Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO) founded in 2013, is an agro-socio enterprise working towards a sustainable agricultural, textile and fashion future with hemp.
EDUCATE. CULTIVATE. ELEVATE
The motto BOHECO stands by while formulating Cannabis as the multifaceted, power-packed super fuel it is.
The modern hemp industry in India is at a highly nascent stage, even though, paradoxically, the use of hemp fibre and seed for a range of applications — rope, fuel, food — has been commonly acknowledged for several centuries in India’s rural communities. ~Mansi Shah, Hemp Fabric Lab
An extremely versatile fibre, Hemp can be blended with a number of other fibres (silk, muslin, denim, canvas, suede, fleece) to produce:
a semi-formal or casual, modern, chic and trendy range of aesthetic outfits (all made from 100% hemp or blends of hemp-organic cotton or hemp-lyocell that works for tropical climates like India) [BLabel]
a variety of sustainable fabrics (handloom, woven or knitted) used for upholstery, apparel, accessories, shoes, furniture and home-furnishing. [Hemp Fabric Lab]
Besides investing in the production of fabrics, the label also actively engages with designers, students, and design institutes educating them about the benefits of Hemp. Their approach is to be an educator first, aiming to influence consumers to opt for slow fashion, make conscious decisions to reduce carbon footprints and the negative impact on the environment and a business afterwards.
Hemp speaks for itself. It is our hero. We don’t need any influencer to take it big, our mission is big enough to make a difference. ~Mansi Shah, Hemp Fabric Lab
Another notable mention regarding sustainable fashion label that has incorporated Hemp fabric into their line of clothing is SUI.
SUI is a conscious fashion label based in India and Singapore. Mahima Gujral Wadhwa, the founder had moulded the brand out of her efforts to make an impact, a change. They aim to craft versatile, relatable fashion while viewing nature through a sustainable lens and creating a green environmental impact.
Though we can not deny the fact that Hemp fashion is on the pricier side, the reason being the lack of acceptance of the fibre by major brands. Incorporation of this sustainable fibre by fashion labels at a large scale would lead to better bottom-line control and thereby a reduction in product prices. In addition to this, Hemp clothing belongs to the slow fashion line and thus it is meant to last longer and are biodegradable. This means a productive investment in the long run.
With sustainable labels surfacing up with rather innovative and eco-friendly solutions to the loopholes in the fashion industry, it is time for us to adopt ethical substitutes to fast fashion. Hemp might soon be synonymous with sustainability in the near future.
Thus, Hemp fashion should be a must-try on our list as responsible individuals!
Image Source ~ BLabel, Hemp Fabric Lab and SUI official websites
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