Take a look at why hemp is heralded as a hero material and discover 14 hemp clothing brands that have tapped into its sustainable potential.
The exploration of fabrics has always been a starting point for sustainable innovation in fashion. After all, fabrics provide tangible proof that change is possible while having a direct impact on the environment in one way or another. Plus fabrics are responsible for an outsized proportion of a fashion brand’s carbon footprint and overall environmental impact, including biodiversity loss and pollution.
So, What is Hemp Fabric?
Hemp is a bast fiber produced from the cannabis sativa plant, where every part of the plant can be utilized for over 25,000 industrial uses including clothing, biofuel, bricks, paper, and textiles.
Contrary to its popular association, hemp is actually the sober sister to marijuana. Unlike its recreational sibling that’s grown for its psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) properties, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, a value that was the driving force behind the legalization of hemp production in the 2018 Farm Bill. So while you can’t really get high from hemp, you can definitely enjoy its material benefits — which are plenty!
What is Hemp Clothing?
The simple answer is that hemp clothes are garments made from hemp fabric! But the important caveat here is that most hemp clothes on the market today are not made from 100% hemp fabric. They are usually blended with other fibers, like cotton.
At this point, hemp fabric manufacturing is not at the scale or technological level that the manufacturing of cotton (the most popular natural material) is, making 100% hemp clothing more expensive to produce. Also, pure hemp fabric is also known to be quite stiff until a couple dozen washes later, so blending it with a fiber like cotton can make it softer and easier to wear on the offset.
100% hemp fiber content clothing does exist, it’s just rare at this point. Though we do think this will change with more sustainable material investment happening in the textiles industry.
Is Hemp Clothing Comfortable?
It depends! The softness of hemp clothing will vary based on how the fabric was produced and if it is blended with other fibers like cotton or lyocell. Pure hemp clothing can be rougher than cotton, but hemp is known to get softer with every wash.
Also, since hemp is a natural bast fiber that comes from the softer parts of the plant’s stalk or stem, it is softer than the coarser leaf fibers.
Can Hemp Clothing Protect From The Sun?
A lesser known benefit of hemp clothing is that it can reportedly even help shield you from harmful UV rays. According to skin cancer research, a fabric’s UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) value is a number that coincides with the fraction of UV rays it allows to pass through and hit your skin — the higher the UPF number, the better the protection.
Research claims that hemp has a UPF of >50 (according to European standards) due to natural pigments and lignin within the fibers, which act as UV absorbers.
Is Hemp Clothing Sustainable?
There are a lot of benefits to hemp clothing. But don’t just take our word for it, we’ve listed some of hemp’s most impressive sustainable qualities below:
1. Hemp is not resource-intensive
Hemp can be grown under a variety of agricultural and ecological conditions and has a capacity to grow rapidly.
Hemp clothing vs. cotton: With a high yield of 250% more fiber than cotton, hemp requires less land to grow, has no need for harmful pesticides or chemicals, and needs as little as 1/3rd of the water compared to conventional cotton. (Though individual use cases may vary based on the region that each of the crops are grown.)
2. Hemp is a restorative plant
Growing hemp can also help contribute to the maintenance of soil quality, courtesy of its anchored roots which prevent soil erosion and nutrient loss.
In fact, research shows that hemp can be used to restore contaminated soils through ‘phytoremediation’ — a process that has proven successful in the early 90s when industrial hemp was planted in some of the polluted Ukrainian regions near the Chernobyl disaster where much of the land was rendered useless. The experiments showed that hemp helped remove radioactive elements from the soil.
3. Hemp can absorb carbon
Research has found that a cotton T-shirt weighing about 0.55 lbs emitted about 15 lbs of CO2 during its service life, which was 27 times more than its own weight.
Hemp, on the other hand, acts as a carbon sink. According to a Cambridge University researcher, a hectare of hemp can absorb between 8-15 tonnes of CO2, giving hemp plants a vital role in reversing carbon emissions.
Impressed yet? Ahead, discover 14 brands that have some of the best takes on this sustainably versatile fiber.
Note that this guide includes partners and affiliates. As always, all brands meet very high standards for sustainability and are brands I love that I think you’ll love too.
Where to Find Sustainable Hemp Clothing
Feminine, effortless, and endlessly romantic, Valani is the place to find hemp clothes that’ll help you unleash your inner goddess. With details like ruffles, puffed sleeves, curved hems, and frilly trims that take shape in dreamy styles, these hemp pieces have a lot of personality. Don’t just take our word for it! Every style listed has a descriptive persona that speaks to its shoppers about who it can embody and be complemented with. After all, who doesn’t love clothing with some character?
Most of Valani’s hemp styles are blended with TENCEL™ for that extra soft feel and can be machine washed on delicate.
Size range: US 0–12
Have an outdoor adventure coming up? Run for the hills in some of Patagonia’s functional hemp styles that’ll have you covered no matter what path you set foot on. Whether it’s a jacket, sweatshirt, pair of overalls, or technical pants, these styles are hard-wearing and made to last.
Patagonia stands by hemp as one of its hero fabrics and claims to consciously partner with suppliers that use unique processing techniques to minimize waste. The brand has also created unique performance materials by blending hemp with organic cotton, recycled polyester, and TENCEL™ lyocell.
Many of Patagonia’s clothes and gear are sewn at Fair Trade Certified™ factories that ensure all workers earn a living wage.
Size range: US 0–18
If you’re on the lookout for easy hemp styles that make you want to lounge around in them all day long but still look cool enough for a coffee run, tentree has you covered. Taking an earth-first approach with everything they do, this Canadian brand has been sowing the seeds of sustainability throughout its operations and supply chain. Their clothes are ethically manufactured and workers are provided with living wages.
P.S. Did you know that the brand derives its name from its carbon offsetting initiative that plants ten trees (ten-tree) for each item purchased?
Size range: XS–XL
4. ALIYA WANEK
ALIYA WANEK is a Black-owned eponymous label offering styles in extended sizes made from hemp and organic cotton blends. With relaxed styles that have nailed the pared-down look to perfection through its clean lines and streamlined silhouettes, these hemp-blended looks will be a solid addition to any wardrobe.
In order to lower its environmental impact, the brand works with two small factories and local contractors in the Bay Area to produce and dye its garments.
Size range: XS–3X
If you have sensitive skin that has been prone to reactions from synthetic fabrics or the chemicals they are treated with, then Rawganique is the answer to your clothing woes.
From seed to seam, this brand oversees everything that goes into their organic hemp products and eliminates the use of harmful chemicals at every stage. From long tunics and t-shirts to pullovers and cardigans, you’ll be sure to find a cozy hemp item for all your loungewear needs.
Size range: XS–XL
6. Toad & Co
In search of everyday hemp clothing that’ll work with just about anything in your existing wardrobe? Then look no further. Toad & Co’s hemp styles are nothing short of stylish. From relaxed dresses to jumpsuits, t-shirts, shorts, and a lot more, these styles are made using hemp that has been blended with TENCEL™ Lyocell or organic cotton for added comfort.
The brand has partnered with Hemp Fortex (a member of the Fair Wear Foundation) to produce its hemp clothing. According to Toad & Co, their facilities run on 100% solar power, and the company actively helps those with physical disabilities be able to afford their medical bills and day-to-day living expenses.
Size range: XS–XL
For the minimalist aesthete who appreciates some simple and refined clothing in her closet, Eileen Fisher is the brand for you. Whether you’re seeking a monochrome palette of smart separates or something chic for casual Fridays at work, these hemp-cotton blends will have you looking your best.
The brand works with organic growers who use farming methods that help support clean water and healthy soil, all while using fewer chemicals.
Size range: XXS–3X
Pretty prints and patterns on stylish silhouettes that cinch at the waist, all of which are made from hemp — count us in! Thought is a UK-based fashion brand offering covetable styles in sustainable materials (like hemp) that will help you reconsider that next fast fashion purchase.
With evergreen styles that’ll outlive any trend, Thought’s range of hemp-blended clothing will have you turning heads every time you wear it.
Size range: US 2–16
9. Vege Threads
Vege Threads is an Australian fashion label creating ethically made everyday basics using hemp and organic cotton blends. All of their clothes are treated using low-impact, non-toxic dyes and are available in an extended size range with relaxed fits that are perfect for lazying around in style.
Expect to find a range of colorful hemp shorts that can be paired with matching t-shirts, tops, t-shirt dresses, and wide-leg pants.
Size range: US 0–14
With hemp styles that have a distinctive Y2K vibe, AFENDS is the place the find your next pair of overalls or bucket hats. Based out of Australia, the co-founders of AFENDS share a huge passion for hemp and have even purchased 100 acres of farmland called Sleepy Hollow to grow, harvest, and build a hemp processing facility for research and development.
We love the fact that they use hemp fleece in their range of cozy knitwear, making it the sustainable alternative to conventionally available polyester fleece.
Size range: US 2–10
Terra is a woman-owned Australian fashion label with a wide array of dressy looks that are dipped in an earthy color palette made from 100% hemp fiber. Dyed using a mix of natural and eco-enzyme dyes, these styles feature thoughtful details like biodegradable coconut buttons and hand-drawn prints.
From flirty free-flowing dresses to cute and covetable tops, you might just have a hard time zeroing in on a single hemp clothing item here. All of their pieces are created on a made-to-order basis to combat waste. And, the brand accepts its old clothes from local customers once they are done wearing them to recycle and keep them in circulation.
Size range: XXS–XXL
12. Opera Campi
Channel some La Dolce Vita vibes with a little help from Opera Campi’s fine Italian hemp pieces. With knitted hemp styles that have been blended with the most sumptuous cashmere among a range of other hemp performance materials, all of their pieces are crafted on a made-to-order basis.
The brand was born out of a passion for hemp and exploring its many compositions and blends through innovative yarn-twisting technology. Some of their pieces even include undyed hemp styles that haven’t been treated with chemicals of any kind.
Size range: XXS–3XL
LANIUS is a woman-owned German slow fashion brand creating well-made everyday pieces from hemp that are bound to last a long time. Most of these styles are made from a hemp and organic cotton blend, featuring a range of comfortable t-shirts, sweaters, and dresses in varying sleeve lengths and a myriad of hues.
The brand believes in circularity and empowers its local customers to repair, rent, and resell their old LANIUS pieces to keep them in use for longer.
Size range: 34–44 (German sizing)
14. Hemp & Hope
Hemp & Hope is a UK-based woman-owned slow fashion label creating chic hemp clothing that can be dressed up or down with styles that will seamlessly work with your existing wardrobe.
All of their lovely pieces are made from hemp that’s grown, harvested, and spun in Himalayan villages, after which they are transported to cities in Nepal where they are cut and sewn by workers who are paid living wages. The hemp garments even feature biodegradable coconut buttons.
Size range: UK 8–20
About The Author:
Jharna Pariani is a fashion writer and creative strategist whose work is rooted in honesty and deep observation of the world around her. When she isn’t busy penning down her thoughts, she moonlights as a video editor creating fashion and food reels on Instagram for several brands and influencers