As a small business owner who makes sure my products are manufactured in the United States, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the materials I use. Recently, I was looking for a new fabric that would more fully meet sPACYcLOUd’s ethos of “sustainable, practical and creative fashion” and I realized that hemp was the perfect answer.
Hemp has a fascinating history in the US – it was popular for a number of industrial uses in the early 1900s, during World War II the USDA even ran a campaign called, “Hemp for Victory” that was aimed at increasing hemp production. However, not long after the war, hemp became associated with marijuana and banned during the war on drugs. It only recently became legal to grow again in some states and under certain circumstances in 2014. Suffice it to say that hemp has gotten a bad rap, which is too bad given some of its awesome properties.
Eco-Friendly + Strong
For the eco-conscious, there are a lot of reasons to get behind hemp— it’s sustainable to grow, natural to wear, and requires fewer resources to produce than synthetic materials.
Hemp’s an amazing fabric for clothing not only because of its ability to handle stress, but also because it is soft and comfortable. It is one of the most durable natural fibers used for textiles and it’s great at withstanding wear and tear because it holds its shape and lasts longer than most other fabrics. As someone who endeavors to make clothes that are fashionable, eco-friendly, and long-lasting, the ruggedness of hemp, plus the fact that it’s biodegradable really appeals to me.
Effect on Local Communities
My other interest in hemp comes from love and appreciation for farming and its effects on communities. Growing up in Russia, my grandmother used to take me to a small village outside of Siberia. There we grew our own food and I learned to appreciate the importance of farming, being connected to nature, and healthy living. I realized that by supporting farming, local communities can invest directly in their food system, secure farmland for the future, help create sources of healthy, locally-produced crops, and enjoy social, economic, environmental, and agricultural benefits. There is a resurgence of interest in the growing of hemp across the country – people are lobbying in DC for the right to grow hemp and in some states farmers have even gained special licenses to grow hemp for textiles.
While I still have to use imported hemp for my products, I manufacture most of my products in the US and can’t wait for the day when hemp textiles are readily available in the US. Hopefully soon I can even say the hemp material was grown in the USA as well! I’m a diehard fan of hemp, and believe it embodies the creative and rebellious spirit that makes sPACYcLOUd so unique.
I’m launching my hemp line! I have started a Kickstarter campaign for sPACYcLOUd’s first ever hemp onesie – inspired by the community of street artists and skaters in our home base of Washington, DC. It is custom designed and full of awesome features, such as a hood, an opening for earbuds, and convenient pockets!
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