Hemp fabrics are gaining a lot of traction in the fashion industry. With the fashion industry earning a bad reputation for being the second most polluting industry globally and consumers demanding more sustainable and eco-friendly fashion trends – this popularity is justified.
Today, more and more fashion brands are opting to use hemp fiber to make one of the most popular types of clothing: jeans. And these hemp jeans look exactly like the traditional jeans – you can’t tell the difference.
So what are hemp jeans, and why should you get them during your next shopping spree? Here’s everything you need to know.
What are Hemp Jeans?
Hemp jeans use hemp fiber to make more sustainable clothing. Clothing companies may decide to use 100% hemp or hemp blend with other products like organic cotton, silk, or lycra denim.
Hemp fiber is extracted from the hemp plant – a high yielding crop with more fiber harvesting capacity per acre than the typical cotton or flax.
How are Hemp Jeans Made?
The manufacturing process of hemp jeans is all environmentally friendly. No volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are used and there’s no waste. Here’s the step-by-step process.
Step 1: Harvesting of Hemp Plants
Hemp is a hardy plant and can grow well with little water, agricultural chemicals, and maintenance. It takes four to six months to mature for harvesting. The harvesting is done by an automatic hemp harvester.
Step 2: Retting
This is the process where fiber is extracted from the hemp stem through exposure to the elements. It’s done in the field and can take 4-6 weeks.
Step 3: Carding into Strands
Bales of hemp stalks are formed, and a hammer mill is used to separate the fibrous outer section of the plant from its woody core. The separated fibers are then carded into strands and cleaned to remove contaminants.
Step 4: Steaming
The clothing manufacturers use a steam explosion to make raw hemp into fiber that can be weaved.
Step 5: Weaving into Hemp Jeans
Next, hemp fiber is spun into yarn and woven into comfortable hemp jeans.
How Comfortable are Hemp Jeans?
Just like linen, hemp jeans have breathable fabric to offer perfect moisture management. They absorb moisture faster during the summer to keep you cool, while the hollow fiber insulation provides adequate warmth for the winter.
Additionally, the anti-bacterial properties of hemp protect your skin from fungi and bacteria that may lead to harsh skin conditions.
The only problem with hemp fiber for jeans is that it’s a little rough on the skin when it’s still new. This is why most clothing lines opt to blend hemp with softer fabrics for more comfortable hemp jeans. However, the material gets softer and more comfortable after every wash.
Are Hemp Jeans Durable?
Hemp jeans are super durable. They’re a product of hemp fiber which is three times stronger than any other fiber.
They don’t weaken or lose color after repeated washes like regular jeans, so you can clean them after every use with no worries. Hemp jeans also maintain their shape for years due to their low stretching ability.
Hemp Jeans vs. Cotton Jeans: Which One Should You Go For?
To know the most reliable clothing, let’s compare the two jeans materials:
Hemp jeans have a higher tensile strength than cotton jeans. They don’t wear and tear easily even with constant use. They’re also anti-bacterial, mold-resistant, and UV-resistant, making them a better choice for the outdoors.
Moisture Wicking Ability
Hemp jeans are more breathable and keep off moisture better than cotton jeans – the perfect choice for hot summers. Thanks to their excellent breathability, they don’t harbor odor easily.
Hemp jeans production is more eco-friendly than cotton jeans.
While cotton fiber uses 1,400 gallons of water during plantation in a single growing season, hemp fiber for jeans uses half the amount of water for the same production. What’s more, about 200-250% more hemp fiber is produced on the same piece of land.
Hemp is also self-sustaining, so there’s no need for pesticides and other chemicals – making it an eco-friendly option for jeans production.
After many washes, the cotton fabric may start to break and feel ragged. On the other hand, hemp jeans never look ragged even with regular washing. Although hemp jeans may feel rough in the beginning, they soften over time.
Are Hemp Jeans More Expensive Than Regular Jeans?
Currently, hemp jeans are more expensive than regular jeans. The high cost of the production of hemp fiber is due to the fact that it’s a fairly new industry. Because of its association with cannabis, hemp cultivation and use have been illegal for decades.
This was until the 2018 Farm Bill which allowed farmers to grow hemp and use it as a raw material for various industries. Unlike cannabis, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC content, meaning it doesn’t make you high.
Moreover, with hemp production expected to increase over the next few years, hemp products will be more available in the market and their prices will go down. Hemp jeans give you more value for your money than cotton jeans because they last and maintain their color and shape longer.
The Future of Hemp Jeans
By 2025, the global market size of the industrial market is projected to grow to $26.6 billion at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34%. This growth symbolizes a major improvement of the hemp clothing industry.
With this improvement, the small hemp jeans market is set to gain serious momentum. Many fashion enthusiasts are embracing hemp jeans as they’re not only sustainable but also trendy.
Where to Buy Hemp Jeans
Add style and sustainability to your look by shopping for the latest hemp jeans. Its fabric looks like regular denim, so you’ll not have a lot of trouble styling it.
There are various manufacturers of hemp jeans in the USA and other parts of the world. Also, most mainstream apparel stores in the USA stock hemp jeans. But just in case you are unable to find any in of your local store, then you can order a pair or two from online dealers.
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