Why You Should Wear Hemp

Hardwearing, comfortable, and often misunderstood, hemp is the 10,000-year-old fabric that’s easy on the Earth
April 25, 2019Words by Miranda SmithPhotos by Alex Souza

The latest addition to Huckberry’s roster of exclusive brands, Wellen has chosen hemp as the foundation for nearly everything in their lineup of sundrenched, sustainable apparel. The more we learn about this ancient, almost magical fabric, the more we love it. Read on for more on why we’re wearing hemp (and you should, too).
 


 

In the not-so-distant past, any mention of hemp would have elicited memories of those puka-shell necklaces that were popular in the ‘90s. But the durable, environmentally-friendly fiber has played an integral part in the history of textiles long before people started wearing it to get in touch with their inner bohemian (like 10,000 years before). And today, hemp’s not just making a comeback—it’s playing a leading role in the future of sustainable fashion.

Stretch Chore Coat in Dark Olive
The Stretch Chore Coat in Dark Olive

Today, hemp is easily the most sustainable fabric out there.


Archeologists have uncovered remnants of hemp cloth in modern-day Iraq from 8,000 BCE, making hemp the oldest known plant cultivated for textiles. Hemp fabric was also created in India, China, and across Europe before common era. In fact, about 80% of all fabrics were made from hemp until the cotton gin became popular in the 1800s. And while hemp had some good moments in the 20th century (in 1916, the US Department of Agriculture found that hemp produces four times more paper per square acre than trees, and in 1941, Henry Ford created hemp car prototype), it was increasingly overshadowed by cotton and synthetic fibers.

In the ‘70s, anti-drug rhetoric ran rampant, and the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 strictly regulated the cultivation of all cannabis, effectively precluding the use of hemp in the US textile industry, and depriving us of the cozy, durable fabric we’ve now come to love. (Hemp 101: Both hemp and marijuana derive from the cannabis plant, but it’s important not to conflate the two—hemp contains almost no tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and can only be used for industrial purposes, e.g. your breathable hemp crew.) Fortunately, those restrictions have been gradually rolled back over the past decade, and those looking for the most comfortable, hardwearing, and sustainable stuff out there have taken notice.
 

Hemp plants absorb four times the carbon dioxide a tree does.


Today, hemp is easily the most sustainable fabric out there. Hemp can be planted in smaller spaces, grows in diverse climates, and matures quickly. Fewer chemicals and pesticides are needed to produce hemp, and it only requires a fraction of the water that cotton does. Hemp plants can also help clean the atmosphere, absorbing four times the carbon dioxide a tree does. (Sustainability 101: Global warming is attributed to a rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, so plants like hemp are crucial to mitigating that.)
 

Wellen Hemp Tee
The Hemp Tee in Seafoam Green

A hemp tee’s long lifecycle means your favorite shirt will spend more time on your shoulders—and not in the landfill.


Beyond the sustainable production process, hemp fabric simply makes for a better shirt. It’s one of the strongest natural fibers that’s also comfortable, breathable, and antibacterial. It retains its strength when wet and holds its shape longer, softening in rather than wearing out. Aside from getting more bang for your buck, a hemp shirt’s long lifecycle also means it’ll spend more time on your shoulders—and not in the landfill. The takeaway? Doing right by the planet can be as easy as reaching for your favorite tee.

Hemp LS Henley in Washed Navy
The Hemp LS Henley in Washed Navy

Hemp SS Polo in Whitecap Grey
The Hemp SS Polo in Whitecap Grey

Lightweight Hemp Full Zip Hoodie in Striped Olive
The Hemp Zip Hoodie in Striped Olive

Wellen Hemp Tee
The Hemp Tee in Natural

Lightweight Hemp Crewneck in Heathered Sage
The Hemp Crewneck in Heathered Sage
 



Shop the Hemp Collection
 



>>Next: The Art of Shoe Maintenance
 


 

Trending Gear