Why Aren’t We Making More Hemp Textiles in the U.S.?

Hemp is a plant of seemingly magical proportions that we are finally bringing into the mainstream after a prohibited past. It has been on everyone’s lips for the past year as a way to solve some of our climate issues related to soil depletion (hemp is a carbon sink and heavy metals trap) and water consumption (using less on average per pound of fiber generated than cotton). But why haven’t we turned our attention to utilizing hemp more fully for all of its potential applications: food, paper, medicine, building materials, plastics and, more specifically, textiles?

Fashion accounts for a considerable amount of waste and carbon emissions. Conscious consumers are starting to look at personal fibersheds (how far away all components of our clothing come from) and asking if it’s even possible to wear nothing but locally sourced clothing in the United States. As an interior designer for hospitality and commercial spaces, I have found that my clients are also starting to ask for organic and natural fibers in upholsteries and wall coverings, but they are hard to find, expensive and don’t always perform as well as their synthetic counterparts. Additionally, as a CBD/hemp topical company founder with a family cannabis farm, I find myself wondering more specifically why hemp isn’t making its way into other industries now that it’s legal to grow and harvest industrial hemp in the United States.

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