A strong and versatile fiber with benefits that are often overshadowed by its textured (and misunderstood) history, hemp offers an array of benefits—especially in summer-weight fabrics. In this FAQ, we explore the facts and features of this unique fiber to better understand its performance and environmental benefits.
Like linen and flax, hemp is a bast fiber, meaning it is sourced from the fiberous parts of plants. As a result, it creates naturally strong fabrics with linen-like feel and drape. One of the first plants humans spun into fiber over 10,000 years ago, the plants used today as fiber sources are grown specifically for manufacturing uses. Commonly referred to as industrial hemp, these strains of Cannabis sativa are distinct from the psychoactive strains grown for seeds or oil. A natural fiber, hemp is an environmentally sustainable crop that requires no pesticides or fertilizers, and which grows in a wide variety of soils.
In addition to its reduced environmental footprint, hemp provides many unique performance properties. Cool and breathable like linen and flax, hemp has a crisper, lighter hand feel, and a natural strength that adds to the durability and longevity of garments.
We mostly use hemp in blended fabrics, where it’s combined with cotton or recycled polyester. In these fabrics, the hemp fibers add texture and durability to create cool, breathable fabrics that are ideal for hot weather. In our 2017 and 2018 collection you can find hemp blend fabrics in our Kanab and Kush styles.
Yes, the sale and use of hemp fabrics is legal. In addition, the cultivation and production of industrial hemp—which contains lower concentrations of THC than cannabis grown for medical and recreational use—is currently legal in six US states and over 30 countries around the world.
Nau sources hemp from small (not industrial-scale) farms in China, in part due to its proximity to our manufacturing facilities. Globally, the majority of the world’s hemp is grown in France, China, and Chile.
Although not certified organic, hemp is a resilient crop requiring no pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or GMO seeds. In addition, hemp has been shown to have a positive impact on soil health when used as a rotational crop.
Because it requires no pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMO seeds, and requires very little irrigation to grow, hemp requires relatively little energy to produce.
Hemp is easy to care for, and can be treated much like typical cotton garments. When drying, remove from the dryer quickly to minimize wrinkling. Please refer to the label in your Nau garment for specific instructions.