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.

Saying Goodbye to Synthetic Fashion and Hello to Hemp

I once went to a birthday party where the theme was to wear something plastic. Me, getting literal, showed up to a downtown club wearing a blue garbage bag, Saran Wrap, clear plastic high heels, and a Ziplock bag purse. Other people were warmly dressed and casually sporting a plastic belt or shoes.

If I knew then what I know now, I could have went to that party straight from work in my Lycra spandex day uniform of a jogging suit and been a lot warmer.

Turns out most of the clothes I have been wearing for most of my life are made partially or entirely with synthetic fibers and I have been oblivious as to what that means or how that impacts the environment.

I quit shopping fast fashion at malls a long time ago and shifted to vintage and thrift shopping for clothes and accessories with the exception to knickers and footwear. I managed to create a whole cycle where I would clean out the clothes in my closet that I no longer wear or want to keep and donate them to good will. Then I would take a trip to my favorite thrift shops and go on a mini shopping spree for unique clothes I couldn’t find at the mall.

If I’m being honest, my shopping patterns made it easy to bring some things into my closet that I never wore because it was a good deal and was appealing on the rack. I wasn’t really thinking about the life that piece might have after I was done with it.

Then I heard the statistic that the average person throws away the equivalent of 44 tshirts a year. I don’t think I was going through that many clothes but I also wasn’t cognisent to where they went after I donated them.

50% of donated clothes end up in a landfill.

I dislike the thought that half of my old clothes are just sitting in a landfill not breaking down until long after my body has died and broken down.

So, I have become much more textile conscious. I’m now reading the label of everything and attempting to only bring in clothes that are long term keepers and made with hemp.

I initially set out with a vision to create a head to toe hemp outfit and then eventually an all hemp wardrobe. I can’t say that my closet is all hemp but I can say that I wear some kind of hemp everyday.

Finding hemp clothes that I find fashionable has been a task. I’ve managed to score some things from Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, or directly from the designers but many of the things I want don’t exist and I will have to custom make.

That being said, I was excited to recently discover some European fashion designers who have never stopped using hemp, they just didn’t advertise it after prohibition happened during the 1930s in America. I’ll be posting more about that very soon.

Stay tuned! Choose Hemp!

Change Your Clothes, Change The Climate?

My muse, dressed head to toe in hemp fabrics.

Do you know what the clothes you wear are made of or why it matters?

The reason I bring this topic here is because I feel there is a lack of urgency and education by the general population around the unsustainable fashion industry. This somewhat alarms me. It doesn’t matter if you go to the high end designer brands, the fast fashion knockoffs, or the second hand clothing stores, our fashion choices have been generally reduced to synthetic options. Most of those clothes inevitably end up in a landfill and will outlive their owners.

The average American throws away 70 lbs of clothing each year.

  • Clothes made with synthetic fabrics are literally made of petroleum. Once thrown away, those clothes do not break down for hundreds of years.
  • Synthetic textiles have microfibers that break off in the wash and get sent into our water systems.
  • Pollution is created from pesticides used on fiber crop production and the chemical processing of fabrics.
  • The industry chain of factory workers, fabric producers, fashion designers, fashion buyers, the retailers, consumers, and disposal workers who are all exposed to chemicals.

Not all people think to look at what kind of fabric their clothes are made of as part of their purchasing decisions or what the life of that garment will have in their closet.

Where do your old clothes end up?

I have to be honest, when I tuned in to the atrocity of synthetic clothes I was shocked to discover that most of my own closet was filled with them. Cycling through them was no longer an option for me.

While it is amazing that technology figured out how to turn oil into cheap clothing this invention comes with its own set of interesting statistics that are worth investigating.

  1. The average American buys 68 new articles of clothing per year.
  2. The average piece of clothing is only worn 3 times or less.
  3. About half of the clothes that are donated to thrift stores are thrown away.

Personally, I have responded by updating my fashion habits. I have generally stopped buying new clothes. I shop vintage, thrift, consignment, and craft in an effort to find original, quality clothes I can’t find anywhere else.

I try not to go too crazy at the thrift shop because things are cheap and I no longer think of it as the first choice for my clothes to get donated to.

I read all the labels. I used to only really pay attention to size, care instructions, and where they were made but now I also scrutinize what they are made of.

As a long term project, I am slowly bringing new pieces into my wardrobe as needed that are made of hemp fabrics. I have been inspired to start sewing again to make my own hemp fashions that I literally can’t buy.

Stay tuned.

In 2020 I will be posting a series of blog posts and videos that highlight hemp fashion you might want to wear, hemp food recipes you might want to make. If you can think of hemp fashions and designers that I should know about and be highlighting, please let me know!

For those of you still following from the start, I had to take 2019 off from my blog and creating to recalibrate. In 2020 I will be posting weekly again. You can expect posts about hemp fashion, hemp food recipes, medical cannabis, scoliosis, and ideas to keep yourself healthy. Peace.