Cannabis is already widely used around the world for medicinal and recreational purposes, but what few people know is that the plant has also been used as a raw material for the manufacture of fabrics. Hemp in fashion was a concept that was actually born a long time ago. This is because hemp fibre, a kind of "sober cousin" of marijuana and with a texture similar to that of flax, has a high aggregate yield and is still one of the most sustainable and versatile in the world.
The pieces made with hemp consume less water, and chemical inputs compared to other materials, produce much more fibre per acre - it is a fast-growing plant - in addition to developing in different types of soil and climatic conditions. Hemp in fashion is a great idea because the material is still naturally resistant to most insects and diseases and provides the soil with its own nutrients, which replenishes its fertility.
It was with this series of benefits in mind that Vicunha, one of the largest jeanswear manufacturers in the world and the largest in Brazil, launched a collection entirely made with fibre, becoming the first to use hemp in fashion when it comes to investing in jeanswear. "It is our duty to experiment with new technologies that enable cleaner and more conscious production, in addition to offering new trends to the consumer. We saw this opportunity in hemp to deliver a sustainable, high-quality product with low environmental impact to the market", believes Renata Guarniero, Vicunha's marketing manager.
She reminds us that the fibre is still highly durable, with tensile strength; it is breathable, that is, it does not retain moisture and prevents the growth of mould and mildew; it is antibacterial, inhibiting the development of microorganisms and preventing odours and is hypoallergenic. In addition, it is biodegradable: when hemp clothes reach the end of their useful life, the fibres biodegrade easily.
Among the fabrics produced with a mixture of cotton and hemp by the brand is hemp, denim that comes in a fuller version, for twills, and a lighter version, Hemp Light, ideal for pieces such as denim shirts, and the two options in the serja, Itacaré and Maragogi. The new fabrics are part of Vicunha's V.Eco product portfolio, which is already traditionally known for presenting sustainable technologies, with less environmental impact, less water and chemical consumption and the use of recycled cotton. Initiatives like these are becoming increasingly fundamental in the fashion industry. Hemp in fashion is slowly emerging as a powerful trend. The sector plays an essential role as a transforming agent, promoting more sustainable practices in its production chain and influencing the most diverse audiences, from suppliers to employees and consumers.
No. Despite being from the same species - Cannabis sativa - what makes hemp different from marijuana is the chemical profile of each plant. To be classified as hemp, the plant must have less than 0.3% THC, the plant's main psychoactive compound, by weight. If the THC value is above this level, the plant is considered marijuana.