for any readers who currently own (or are wearing) a hemp robe right now, I don’t need to explain why hemp is an amazing fiber. But it’s history is not always so positive and confident. To begin, here are some of the reasons we love hemp and see it as an amazing fiber:
Three times stronger than cotton.
Good abrasion resistance/very durable.
Anti-microbial and UV resistance.
Naturally resistant to mold, mildew, rot.
Softens with each washing, without fiber degradation.
Why could such a great fiber have such a conflicting history?. Here is an interesting link to see the rise and fall of hemp industry. In short, a “blooming” industry faced structural push-back from competing interests. These competitors (with a commercial interest in the growth of the cotton industry), utilized growing public concern and fear to launch a smear campaign on the hemp industry producing ads like this to bar hemp production within the US back in the 1930’s.
With propaganda like this, it’s no wonder it has taken so long for generations to accept the usefulness of hemp and overcome the hysteria surrounding its production. But finally, thankfully, we’re moving past this nearly 100 years later.
As regulations between states slowly make progress in revising their hemp growing legislation and bureaucratic barriers, a burgeoning industry has started to appear… and with it, a unique opportunity for heightened accountability within fabric supply chains.
I should point out that we currently get our hemp fabric from a distributor in Canada who purchases from China. It’s not the most sustainable supply chain, but the quality and composition of fabric meets our imminent requirements. But… as the hemp industry regains its footing stateside I’ve been researching the viability of building a whole supply chain surrounding farm-to-closet Montana hemp. Sounds crazy, right?
But… I love the “What If” questions: What if we could build a partnership with a local hemp producer that takes hemp from root into fabric that we could use in our robes? What if we sparked a movement bringing not just manufacturing back stateside, but also full supply chain accountability? What if we could not only sustainably manufacture robes here in Montana, but source the fibers and fabric locally too? Root to Robe, Montana.
Although the startup costs and scale demands for getting this kind of operation running would be significant, I get goosebumps thinking about the renewed accountability this could bring to the world. Hemp for Victory!