The textile industry is the second most polluting production in the world.
Each year, it uses a lot of the world's water and releases more than 500,000 tonnes of synthetic microfibers into the oceans. To solve this major environmental challenge, many activists and fashion professionals have begun to think of new solutions. Among them, hemp, which could become the ultimate renewable and sustainable response.
For thousands of years, hemp has been used in many fields, such as clothing, boat sails and construction materials. Thus, great sailors such as Christopher Columbus used this material to make their ropes and the fabrics of their boats. At the end of the 20th century, almost all French regions produced hemp, with a total area of 176,000 hectares of crop fields.
The ecological and sustainable properties of hemp have thus been highly valued for many years, until new agricultural techniques and a bad reputation associated with cannabis caused its decline and encouraged the advent of cotton.
Nowadays, hemp is used in the manufacture of more than 40,000 products that can be used for treatment, heating, housing and, of course, clothing. On the textile side, manufacturers begin to realize that although the transformation of its fibers can be tedious, its cultivation allows a much more ecological and sustainable production and also offers many advantages.
Hypoallergenic and durable, it does not irritate sensitive skin and its antibacterial fibre repels bacteria and other fungi while emitting a pleasant smell. Hemp fibres, thanks to their extreme density, provide good protection against UV and other radiation, and also absorb heat very quickly.
Hemp also requires 50% less water than cotton and is naturally resistant to many pests. It absorbs 4 times more CO² than it releases, thus contributing to air purification. It can also be recycled many times, much more than paper or cotton.
In conclusion, hemp might very well be the plant of the future for cleaner and more sustainable production, and it would not be surprising to see it invade more and more the manufacture of our clothing.