Hemp is one of the most environmentally friendly and versatile natural textile plants on Earth - and one of the first textile plants in history.
Hemp is incredibly tough; it requires no herbicides as it grows so fast that even weeds can't compete. It requires no pesticides as it is unpalatable to insects, and needs very little water to grow; in comparison, Cotton needs around 20'000 litres of water per 1kg grown. Hemp clothing is UV protective and anti-bacterial and produces 250% more fibre yield per acre than cotton, is more water absorbent and has three times the tensile strength. Clearly Hemp has a lot to offer in the way of eco factoids and for these many reasons, Hemp is used by the designers at Mecillat.
How Hemp fabric is made.
Once harvested, Hemp needs to be softened before being spun. Traditional methods to soften vegetable fibres used acids to remove lignin, a type of natural glue found in many plant fibres - recent technological developments in the processing of hemp into a softer fibre that allowed a modest hemp industry to grow.
You can use it for rope, bags, clothes, hats, insulation, and plasterboard. The first American flag was made from hemp, and Levi Strauss made his first pair of jeans from Hemp too.
These qualities of durability are seen in the makeup of the fibre; it is thicker and firmer than most fabrics, but this is also its own undoing: Thicker fibres create coarser yarns, meaning Hemp feels coarse when compared to the silk-like quality of Bamboo Clothing or Organic Cotton. For the same reasons, wool jumpers went out of fashion as soon as softer, less itchy alternatives were available. Reviving hemp will require more than a simple marketing exercise: whilst enthusiasts are right to maintain Hemp's suitability for a number of clothing styles, the reality is that there are simply more suitable alternatives for casual clothing.
This goes some way to answer the question, "If Hemp clothing is so good, why don't we see it more?" As a fabric, it just isn't as comfortable next to skin as alternatives like organic cotton. The secret to our success at Mecilla is designing eco clothing that is cool, and wearable. If a product simply does not fulfil its purpose, it makes no sense to create it for the sake of it being more eco friendly.
At Mecilla, we won't give up on hemp, we just use it for the correct application: such as outerwear, jackets, jeans and bags.
When you look deeper Hemp is a great fabric that, used for the right application can be outstanding. The naturally sustainable properties of Hemp surprise most people. Hemp makes our jackets, jeans, socks and accessories bombproof.