Going Green is the New Black

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Hemp has surpassed cotton as the hippest fabric in fashion! One reason that hemp is more and more frequently heading for the runway, is that even modest estimates say that approximately 800 gallons of water goes into producing just one pound of cotton. That's not all, about 25% of the world's pesticides goes into cotton farms. Hemp, on the other hand, uses just 50 per cent of the water and grows with almost zero chemical assistance. What's more, farmers can produce 200% to 250% more hemp fiber in the same amount of land compared to cotton. In addition to using less of the Earth's resources when you wear hemp, you also get a durable fabric that and is quickly becoming a favorite of designers who want to adopt a more earth conscious fashion line.

The trend kicked off in 2008, when two dozen internationally recognized designers displayed their latest creations at the Earth Pledge eco-fashion show FutureFashion, before the official opening of New York Fashion Week. With fabric sponsored by EnviroTextiles, designers like Donatella Versace, Behnaz Sarafour, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Isabel Toledo, and Calvin Kleinwove their magic with everything from Hemp/Organic Cotton Jersey Knits to Hemp Silk/Charmeuse. Since then, the hemp trend has exploded onto the ready to wear world in a huge way. Brands like Nomads Hemp Wear, BohoHemp and Hempest have begun bringing affordable and beautiful fashion into ecco-conscious homes worldwide.

All of this means great things for farmers too! Hemp was a key American farm crop, primarily its fiber to produce rope and cloth, from the founding of the nation until it was banned in the 20th century war on marijuana.

Its production was legalized during World War II, but it was banned again in 1957. The Illinois Senate has helped move state farmers one step closer to a return to production of industrial hemp, unanimously approving legislation The legislation, Senate Bill 1294, now goes to the House, where approval is expected. It would allow the Illinois Department of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp as authorized under the 2014 Federal Farm Bill. 

With states like Illinois looking to approve hemp production, the stage has been set for hemp to continue its fabric takeover. Hemp has been finding its way into other household beauty categories as well such as home goods and skincare. Beyond the little black dress, hemp seems to be preparing for a full fashion takeover and we can't wait!

Credit: Robert Themer, Shajani SR, Times of India