If you're looking for a good natural clothing alternative to organic cotton, then hemp clothing is a great choice. But not all hemp products are created equally, so having some information on how to select the highest-quality, most eco-friendly hemp clothing will go a long way to making you happy with your purchase and an advocate for the hemp movement!
So what are the characteristics of great hemp clothing that you should look for?
A finished garment made from hemp can take many forms. The fabric blend, processing techniques, agricultural practices, and finishing methods all have an impact on how green your hemp clothing really is, how beautiful it will look, and how it will perform over time. Here are some tips on selecting the best hemp clothing:
Give preference to organic clothing: This is true whether you're buying hemp or cotton clothing. In this case, look for hemp that is grown without chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, and other agriculture toxins. To avoid green washing, take a look at the eco label to make certain the clothing is certified by a credible organization.
Eco spinning and fiber finishing: How hemp is made into textile fiber and softened in preparation for sewing is also important. Look for hemp that is processed and softened without chemicals, acids, and / or water wherever possible. These mills will use mechanical combs to create hemp yarn, making the finished product less toxic and healthier for you and the planet. Other softening techniques include the use of aloe vera, beeswax, and vitamin E.
Non bleached: Many manufacturers will process their hemp with chlorine bleach to get it really white, sometimes adding color after that. But chlorine bleach is incredibly bad for the environment, forming deadly dioxins when it combines with organic matter in our water systems. Processed chlorine-free hemp is the textile of choice for green consumers.
Low-impact dyes: While hemp is much more efficient when it comes to dye consumption that cotton (a huge portion of the dyes used on cotton textiles are wasted because cotton is very dye-resistant), if it is made with cancer-causing AZO dyes, heavy metals, aromatic amines, and other chemicals, it isn't very eco-friendly. Low-impact dyes will be biodegradable and meet standards like the Global Organic Textile Standards for eco-friendliness.
Fair trade: If you want to ensure the lives of those cultivating hemp and making your organic clothing are healthful and prosperous, then be sure to look for clothing that's labeled with a Fair Trade certification.
You may find that the most consistently high-quality and eco-friendly hemp clothing comes from European-grown farmers where organic growing methods are common and eco-friendly processing techniques are second nature. China is becoming a leading producer of hemp fabrics, but they generally use chemicals for processing and dying their finished products, making them less green than other choices.