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.