Hemp fabric is a textile made from the fibres of the stalk of a Cannabis plant. It has been used extensively for industrial purposes like rope and sails. Known as a high-yielding crop, it is recognised for its high textile strength and for its durable textile fibre. It is sustainable and a versatile and durable natural fibre. Due to the psycho activities of the Cannabis plant, it has been harder for farmers to recently cultivate it.
Hemp fibre has eight times the tensile strength compared to any other natural fibre making it perfect for everyday use. This fibre is derived from one of the fastest growing plants and it doesn’t need much water, energy, pesticides or fertilisers. It is considered good for the soil as it can grow without exhausting the nutrients of the soil, which is why it is considered as an eco-friendly fibre. It is a carbon negative raw material meaning that it absorbs more carbon than it produces, and requires less water and land than cotton. Researchers have also noted that it produces less toxins into the soil and wider natural ecosystem
The hemp plant from which hemp is derived has an outer rope-like fibre part as well as an inner woody sponge material. The outer part is processed and used to create hemp fibre that is woven into hemp fabric, surpassing many natural and synthetic fabrics by various parameters. The inner part of the plant is used for animal bedding, fuel and as a building material.
Hemp fabric has many benefits like being a sun protective and antimicrobial fabric, and because it is harder to grow, it is more expensive than any other natural fibre. It is used to create apparel pieces such as shirts, skirts, hoodies, pants and t-shirts, especially apparel that needs to endure heavy wear and tear. As hemp fabric is an eco-friendly fabric and because it requires less maintenance and doesn’t use much resources makes it a sustainable fabric. Our MSc Fashion and Textile Design course encourages a design approach that prioritises sustainability and supports students to develop a design practice that is responsible.