Posted by Mitch Rosenfield on October 23, 2016
The history of Hemp in China is a long and colorful one dating back thousands of years. The Chinese character for Hemp is one of the oldest in it's written language. The same character means Earth, Mother, Horse, and Hemp. It's role as a leader in hemp cultivation has stemmed from the fact that China wisely never sought to ban the industrial use of the cannabis plant the way so many other nations did. It is because of this prudent approach, that China now accounts for over 50% of global hemp production and holds over half of the over 600 international patents on hemp fiber and textile production. We researched many different hemp fabrics from several countries and found the variations and qualities of the Chinese hemp textiles to be vastly superior in strength, softness, and wearability. Hemp fabric will vary based on the growing region, and even season to season based on the weather. China's very large land mass, with a number of different hemp growing regions, accommodates for different types of fabrics. Hotter, dryer regions tend to be more useful for sturdier, burlap type fabrics, while cooler regions make for thinner stalks and more soft linen-like fabrics. A number of factories go through painstaking research to determine the best fabric for each purpose, and the most environmentally friendly way to achieve a finished garment without any toxic chemicals or heavy metals.
At The Hempest, we are committed to sourcing manufacturers that provide good labor practices and working conditions so we can feel good about the clothes we sell and wear. Our garments are produced in factories and certified by 3rd party auditors like Oego-Tex, and Fair Wear foundation. Our factories provide fair wages, uncrowded work spaces, natural light, 8-10 hour shifts, cafeterias with on premise organically grown produce, transportation for workers, and equal opportunities for women. No child labor is involved in our manufacturing process. One of our original factories is now being used by large scale fair trade and organic stewards like Patagonia, Gramicci and Prana. We are proud to have used these same factories since 2000. We feel you will notice a different in the feel and quality of our Hemp products and you can always wear our goods with a clean conscience.
As a new dawn approaches in Hemp cultivation in the United States, we look forward to the day when we can source products from American grown Hemp and garments produced in American factories. A number of states have legalized Hemp cultivation under the 2014 Farm bill signed into law by President Obama. In the 2 years since inception, states are still mostly in the research phase and growing minimal acreage to determine Hemp's economic viability. Early research shows great profitability in medicines like CBD, and food and oil products from the hemp seed. Textiles requires a much larger and more sophisticated infrastructure to manifest an industry at a scale to compete on the global market place, but as the US land mass is arguably the world's best for hemp production, we hope to see results in this area as acreage increases. We look forward to the day when American farmers and workers can benefit the same way the Chinese have from this amazing plant, and we can eliminate the high shipping and duty costs for our garments. Until that time comes, you can be assured that The Hempest will always be sourcing the greenest and cleanest Hemp fabrics and garments available on the market.