With the legalization of marijuana has come an explosion in cannabis-related products. With all the justifiable hype around the recreational pot and medicinal CBD, a very important cannabis byproduct has been largely overlooked. We’re talking, of course, about hemp.
A Brief History of Hemp
This non-psychoactive relative of marijuana was — no joke — a big part of what made America great. For centuries, hemp was the fibre of choice for things like sail canvas, rope, paper, and weed control in agriculture. It’s cheap and sustainable to produce, grows at the speed of light, and actually nourishes the soil. Compare that to cotton, which uses more water than almost any other agricultural crop and depletes the soil it’s grown in.
Alas, the reefer madness of the 1950s threw superstar hemp out of favour, at least in the United States. Because of its relationship to marijuana, hemp was classified as a controlled substance on the level of LSD and heroin. Until very recently, growing hemp for commercial purposes was federally prohibited in the U.S., though individual state governments have allowed it since the 1990s. After the government opened the door to research on widespread hemp cultivation in 2014, production skyrocketed every successive year. Now, with the 2018 Farm Bill lifting the federal ban completely, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see this wonder crop showing up, well, everywhere. These days, hemp is used in places you’d never expect: Automotive parts, construction supplies, food, beauty products, and (what we’re most interested here) fashion.
Why Hemp Clothing
Of course, wearing hemp clothing has been a bit of a political statement for years. Any college campus or music festival lot will feature a clique of dreadlocked hacky-sackers swathed in rough-woven garments and loosely woven beanies that (they will proudly tell you) are made from hemp. But as you’ll see below, the hemp clothes we’re seeing these days are anything but hippie threads. With its airy weight, breathability, and soft texture, hemp turns out to be the perfect fibre for all your summer wardrobe staples. If any clothes could make hemp the new fabric of our lives, it’s these.
As on-trend as hemp fashion has become, it hasn’t lost its environmental credibility. What’s more, by purchasing hemp clothing from the companies that offer it, you’re supporting the farmers who grow hemp, which translates to actively restoring farmland, reducing pollution, and water use, and combating climate change.
Wearing hemp might be the most comfortable form of activism you’ll ever find.
The Best Hemp Clothing Brands to Shop Now
While wearing hemp doesn’t provide the psychedelic benefits of other cannabis-derived products, a trip through the web catalogue of hemp fashion brand Jungmaven definitely puts us in a mellow frame of mind. Jungmaven specializes in ultra-simple casual fashion—tees, sweatshirts, shorts, and socks in sun-washed hues that make us want to live in their Instagram account.
Levi’s Wellthread Collection
The Wellthread Collection is Levi’s move toward a future of environmentally sustainable fashion. Created in collaboration with another of our favourite brands, Outerknown, the collection features a trucker jacket, Western shirt and even the classic 511 jeans made with “cottoned” hemp, i.e., hemp fibre that has been processed to the same light and smooth feel as everyone’s favourite T-shirt fabric.
Patagonia Hemp Clothing Collection
We first experienced Patagonia’s work with hemp back in 2017 with the debut of their workwear collection. Impressed by its rugged performance and lightweight warmth, we were pleased to see even more hemp offerings show up this year. Patagonia’s new collection of tees, shorts, and other summer-friendly fashion blend hemp with Tencel lyocell and organic cotton for strength and durability while maintaining the incomparable breathability and airy feel that hemp provides. The All-Wear 10” shorts are guaranteed to be your new go-to’s for summer; layer on the Trail Wind Crewneck sweatshirt when the evening chills shows up.
Who says hemp can’t be fashion-forward? Along with edgy streetwear basics, Los Angeles-based brand Recreator offers an array of graphic tees that play with hemp’s misunderstood reputation. We’re big fans of their hemp henley — if only it weren’t always sold out.
This company puts hemp’s naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to perhaps their best use: Protecting your unmentionables. Along with keeping the situation down there clean and tidy, Wama’s hemp boxer briefs and trunks are light, breathable and ultra-soft. If you’re planning to spend all weekend on the couch in your chonies, these are the ones to have on.
What started as a reusable surf wax bag 20 years ago is now a line of t-shirts, jeans, beanies and more. This San Diego-based company is a pioneer in the hemp industry and boasts an aesthetic to match their pedigree. While they specialize in an array of cheeky cannabis-themed graphic tees and trucker caps, they also offer some understated club/festival wear that won’t give you an acid flashback.
Tact & Stone
Fine, structured tailoring meets high-functioning technical details and eco-friendly sustainability—Tact & Stone boasts the trifecta of futuristic men’s fashion. Their hemp offerings include classic slim-fit tees in long sleeve and short sleeve models, as well as a blouson jacket that is a true minimalist marvel.