There’s been renewed interest in hemp fabrics recently, and many growers are starting to process and spin hemp yarn themselves. It makes sense, since there’s plenty of spinning equipment sitting around in sheds all over the place. Wool growers invested in them to develop a local secondary industry, but were undercut by overseas manufacturing and a few big deals signed by importers and fabric merchants.
Since it can be spun and woven into so many different yarns and fabrics, there’s enormous potential for it to be used in a lot of different applications. From soft knits for babies to heavy wearing canvas for upholstery. It crossed my mind that Australia spends quite a bit having uniforms made overseas when we could be making them from local hemp.
Hemp is an extremely fast-growing crop, producing more fibre yield per hectare than any other source. Hemp can produce 250 per cent more fibre than cotton, with less water consumption, and six times more fibre than flax, using the same amount of land.
I’d really like to see hemp spun into its silky form and made into suiting or shantung style fabrics. They’d be great to wear as suits. Because hemp is so durable, you could get a suit tailor made and still be wearing it five years later. At that rate, spending the money on good tailoring and fine details would be worth it. That kind of styling approach makes for very sustainable fashion sense.
Hemp can be dyed and painted, like other plant based fabrics, with natural or synthetic dyes. There’s a whole new industry potential there, for wearable hand made art.