Searching For Hemp Fashion In The Cannabis Industry

Since attending my first Seattle Hempfest in 2011, I’ve been looking for the clothes that they are saying from the stages can be made with hemp. I attend several cannabis conferences and events every year and rarely do I see much for hemp fashion or even marketing swag made of hemp. So I ask, Where is all the hemp fashion in the cannabis industry?

Now, I get it, there is no infrastructure in the Americas for large scale hemp fabric and textile production. Nor is there any kind of major hemp fiber production happening by the farmers besides maybe growing test plots to find potential fiber cultivars that will fair well in their terroir. Hemp is still in this bizarre CBD craze phase that is a monetary distraction from its millions of other potential uses. The hope is that the money made from hemp CBD will further the development of what else is possible with hemp biomass.

Continuing my search for people selling or wearing hemp at a cannabis event led me to the recent Lift&Co cannabis conference in Vancouver, BC. There was one vendor to be found out of the hundreds that had hemp clothing. Flying High Cannabis was a local brand that had a small collection of casual wear along with with their cannabis accessories.

While at the show, I asked about 100 people if they were wearing hemp. 7 people had something hemp on. Besides the guy who knew that he was wearing all wool, most people had no idea what their clothes were made of despite knowing that it wasn’t hemp. This ratio and reaction is the usual result.

I have happily never met a person at a cannabis event that did not already know that clothes could be made of hemp which is more than I can say for many when I bring up the idea of eating their plants raw.

Last year at the Emerald Cup I was fortunate to have met Hoodlamb Hemp Tailors in person at their booth where they had a huge selection of clothes and offering trade show discount prices. They have been one of my favorite hemp fashion designers because they can also be actively found doing other valuable things in the cannabis industry space.

It is often the old school advocates and growers of the cannabis crowd that are culturally choosing to wear hemp.

Back to calling for a hemp fashion revolution. The change is already happening. People are shopping at thrift shops at a much higher rate than ever before and, according to Vogue, the current high fashion trends are pointing towards a future of eco-fashion.

There are a lot of good fashion designers using hemp but you really have to look for them. Online shopping sites, like Etsy, can connect you to small slow fashion designers around the world making your clothes to order. The tough side is that you will pay more for those clothes than you may be used to if you tend to frugally shop fast fashion or thrift stores.

You likely don’t want to pay more for your clothes but choosing eco-friendly hemp clothing sends a message to the fashion financial world that people are hungry for a revolution. If clothes can be seen as a type of investment worth keeping and using rather letting them slip into a cycle where most of them end up in a landfill, we might be able to create change.

Proper hemp fashion could save your money from being used create more pollution and tragic suffering for the workers that make clothes.

My Summer Working On A Cannabis Farm

Over the summer I took a part-time job at Sticky Mantis, a Tier 3 cannabis farm in eastern Washington as a trimmer and harvester. This family owned and operated farm near Cheney has been going since the beginning of recreational cannabis in 2013 and in their fifth year are still growing strong despite having to deal with the ridiculously low prices of cannabis in eastern Washington.

My job started out one day a week trimming with my friend’s mom which was absolutely wonderful for me. Trimming itself for hours and hours is tedious and I would come home covered in cannabis crumbs and smelling of flowers but still satisfied with a full day of work.

Once they started harvesting I was pulled outside and started working 7 days a week, as needed, cutting down plants. Being outside in the plants was very different work. Much more physical, much stickier, much dirtier, and much smellier.  Rather than go home smelling like cannabis flowers I would go home smelling like a skunk on defense.

If anybody ever tells you that working on a cannabis farm is glamorous, you can bet they have never worked on a farm.

Despite the odor, the impossible to get out stickiness, the minimum wage, the long commute into the country, and occasional nasty weather, I found a lot of reasons to really like this job.

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Here are 5 Benefits I gained from working on a cannabis farm:

1- The Terpenes. It is wonderful to be surrounded by cannabis terpenes when they agree with you. Most cannabis terpenes appear to agree with me but working with so many different strains I was able to observe that different cultivars gave me different feelings. The Bubba Kush gave me the yawns, Futureman made me feel positive and motivated, and Monsterberry was one I personally didn’t enjoy smelling or working with. Everybody on the crew had different reactions to each plant, it was interesting.

2- The Fresh Air- This benefit is only exclusive to outdoor farms, but working outside was a treat for me. Since Sticky Mantis is a pesticide free farm with healthy plants, I was able to enjoy my own healthy experience on the farm. Watching huge cannabis plants dance in the wind around me was somewhat magical.

3- The People- The group at Sticky Mantis was mostly family and their dynamic made being on the farm a little more fun. Take a healthy mix of personality quirks, ambition, love, and jokes, with more hard work and you get a team that keeps dialing in their craft with each season.

4- The Sunshine. After living in the Seattle area for 12 years, having a job in daily sunshine getting regular Vitamin D for months was a really nice change.

5- The Water. This is again exclusive to the farm I was working on, but they had a water spigot that pumped out fresh, untouched, mineral rich well water. I would take my own water bottles and hydrate as often as possible. What a treat!

In the end I have to say that getting on a good harvest crew is a rather exciting, challenging, grueling, and rewarding thing to do. Working with plants or dried flowers is not overly stressful and if you are the low lady on the totem pole the responsibility is also not yours. The challenging part of the work is making it through harvest when you are putting in long physical hours for weeks until it is done.

Now, with this small addition to my resume, I have a little better idea what it is like to grow weed on a commercial level and a much larger appreciation for how important the farmers are in the cannabis industry.