Article – Kontrast Project Team
It’s no secret we love hemp. All KONTRAST clothes are made by hemp, and there are many reasons as to why we have chosen this material. We have made it easy for you to learn all the reasons by listing them below, followed by more information about this magical plant:
- Hemp as a textile is strong and durable. A scientific study (you can check it out here) showed that hemp has 62% greater tearing strength compared to cotton.
- The fact that it is such a strong textile also means that it stretches less than other textiles. However, this is also positive as it is better for keeping the shape and design of the clothing piece.
- It carries antibacterial properties which makes it resistant to rotting and mildew.
- Hemp as a plant grows quickly and well without any added chemicals, and it requires less water when growing than other natural fibers and plants. For example, producing hemp requires only about half of the amount of water it takes to produce cotton.
- It breathes and feels airy in the summer and has isolating properties (a little bit like wool), which makes it warm in cold weather.
- It is less wrinkly than for example linen, and you can just shake it well and put on a hanger to dry. No need to iron unless you want a completely smooth look.
- It just gets better and more comfortable with wear and wash.
You can NOT smoke hemp
The hemp plant belongs to the cannabis family. But no, it cannot be smoked or inhaled, as it contains very low levels of THC (0.1%) which is the «drug» part in the cannabis plant. However, the fact that it belongs in the cannabis family is what made it illegal to grow in Norway in the 1950s. This will probably change in the future (due to its extremely low levels of THC), and it is legal in both Sweden and Denmark.
A (very) brief history lesson
The Columbia History of the World states that the oldest traces of hemp utilization is a piece of hemp fabric that stems from around 8000 BC. This means that it is the one of the oldest domesticated crops known to mankind. In Scandinavia, hemp has “only” been grown since the medieval times. Traditionally the most common use of hemp was to make hemp-sacks, canvas and rope. The use of hemp as a textile for clothing did not properly start until the 1980s when a new technology was developed to break down the fibers. Since then, more and more clothes have been produced by hemp, and we believe it is here to stay (and to revolutionize the sustainable fashion industry). There are more and more countries rooting for hemp to be a bigger part of sustainable agriculture, as it can also be used to produce paper, biofuel, and it is more and more popular in a diverse range of health food categories.
KONTRAST hemp – where does it come from?
The biggest producer of hemp is China, and the hemp we use in KONTRAST clothes is sourced from there. It is also grown in Nepal (and has been for thousands of years) but they unfortunately do not have the capacity and technology to break it down to textile in the same manner – yet. Once they do, we intend to make our production even more local with Nepalese hemp.
We want to re-emphasise the best things about hemp. For you as a customer it is incredibly COMFORTABLE. It just becomes softer and softer with wear and wash, without losing its shape. For the environment, it is far better to produce hemp with regards to water consumption and the lack of chemicals in the growing process. This is why we think this fabric is a win-win. We hope you do too! 🙂