Humans have been making cloth out of hemp for thousands of years. The Vikings used hemp fiber to make sails for their ships. Ancient Egyptians made parchment from hemp. Clothing made from hemp is making a comeback and adding another chapter to hemp's history.
With the hemp industry expanding, many consumers are quick to rush to the clothing rack...until they see the price tag. The question running through everyone's head is, "Why in the world is hemp clothing so expensive?"
There are several factors clothing brands have to take into consideration when pricing hemp clothing. One of the largest factors is the material itself. Diamond Democracy, a hemp clothing brand, explains, " Due to the very low availability of hemp fibers are one of the main reasons that retain the prices of pure hemp clothing considerably high".
Most growers in 2020 grew with the intent to extract, however, Hemp Benchmarks predicted more growers would venture into fiber and grain production in 2021. Currently, the demand for hemp fiber outweighs the supply, driving costs up.
So why spend the money on hemp clothing when cotton or other fabrics are cheaper? According to Forbes, "Unlike cotton which is a demanding crop to cultivate, requiring much water, chemical fertilizers, and insecticides, hemp grows like a weed, because it is one. It grows fast, it grows clean and it naturally resists insects." They go on to explain that hemp is more eco-friendly to the soil than cotton.
Panaprium, an online retailer focused on ethical and sustainable fashion, also points out that hemp is oftentimes a fair-trade material.
At the time of this writing, the demand for hemp fiber outweighs the supply. Growers looking to diversify their crops are turning to smaller niches in 2021. With time, we will see more growers producing hemp for fiber production, reducing the cost it takes to manufacture hemp clothing. Fair-trade practices also attribute to the higher cost of hemp clothing. While the market for hemp clothing is still relatively small, we have the privilege of watching it grow into a commodity that will help reshape our world.