Hemp clothing - a great comeback
The use of hemp in textiles has been a tradition in Italy for centuries. Its greatest development came with the Maritime Republics, which relied on hemp to make most of their sails and ropes.
Over time, Italy became more and more of a protagonist, eventually playing a leading role alongside Russia. Clothing and hemp were closely linked for a certain period. The development of cotton, but above all of artificial fibres, together with the stringent rules in the regulatory field led to their abandonment, at least until a few years ago.
Even today, and increasingly so, hemp is still widely used to make tablecloths and sheets, but also clothes, at least until the 1950s.
As mentioned above, its decline was due not only to fierce competition from cheaper products, but essentially to its banning as a result of its association with marijuana, and its psychoactive effect.
For the sake of clarity, it is necessary to differentiate between the various types of hemp plant, since the one referred to for industrial production, used in textiles, is the European variety known as Sativa, and not the Indian variety which contains, in its resin, THC, which causes psychoactive effects.
Today, there are no problems in growing hemp for industrial purposes, and no need for special authorisations as was the case until very recently.
Hemp properties in textiles
The properties of hemp fibre are well documented and ensure that garments are considerably more resistant than other fibres. This is the greatest added value that a hemp garment offers. Just think that the first jeans were made of hemp fibre, at a time when this type of garment was directly associated with its ability to be used by workers in the construction industry in particular.
It is particularly characterised by its ability to absorb moisture due to its very large internal cavities. It easily dissipates heat, making hemp clothing cool in summer and warm in winter.
One of the most appreciated characteristics is that it absorbs odours, including those of the human body, and also provides protection from the sun's UV rays. Wearing hemp clothing means enjoying a continuous massage of the epidermis because, due to the micro electrical power it possesses, it stimulates the skin, promoting better blood circulation.
In addition, hemp is not susceptible to mould, mites or moths and is a non-allergenic material. Fabrics made from hemp are soft and pleasant to the touch.
The advantages of hemp production for textile use
The great advantages of hemp start from the moment it is grown, since compared to cotton it does not require much in the way of herbicides and pesticides. This type of plant also does not require large amounts of water, which is what the current economic system needs most in order to develop in an environmentally sustainable way.
In ancient times, hemp was harvested from the end of August onwards. Taking advantage of the summer heat, drying was facilitated, thus allowing the foliage to be reduced in a completely natural way.
This was followed by maceration, which lasted about a week, and only then did the fibres get extracted. In the past, this was done on an artisanal basis, after which the first specific machines appeared.
Whoever chooses to wear a Hemp clothingHowever, hemp has all the credentials to become popular in the textile industry thanks to its own quality, which sets it above other fibres, even the finest.