The hemp legalization in December marked a historic moment in the history of the United States. The hemp industry is now flourishing more than ever and there is an estimate that it will go up in value, reaching about $13.03 billion by 2026.
Products created from hemp can be found in any market and now, Levi Strauss & Co. is making a change in the fashion industry, creating a line of sustainable clothing from hemp.
Levi’s is a very famous clothing brand and many people love their products. Their products are in top quality and many people swear by it. Levi’s is going for sustainable clothing to help make a change for the planet. Even though many think that cotton might be a harmless product, the water requirement for cotton is huge.
Almost 2,700 liters of fresh water are needed for the cultivation of cotton and when you add processing and garments, it can take up to 3,800 liters of fresh water. All of this data was collected from the Stockholm Environmental Institute. However, there are alternative materials that can be used such as hemp to cut down the water by almost 70%.
In March, Levi’s decided to collaborate with the Outerknown label and introduce a pair of jeans and a jacket made 69% from cotton and 31% from hemp, giving it pure cotton fuel. The cannabis plant uses a lot less water and chemicals than cotton, however, it is a bit difficult to manage. Cotton is delivered from the puffy bud on top of the plant and hemp fibers are taken from the trunk. According to Paul Dillinger, the head of Levi’s global product innovation, the material is coarse and stiff. The material can be converted into a study rope, however, for clothes, it doesn’t seem like the right material.
However, Levi’s knows how to make a combination that will be the working solution for their new line. Observing the growth trajectory of cotton demand, Dillinger compared it with the fresh water requirements for processing and cultivating cotton and it was apparent that alternatives to it must be found. Even though hemp was not in his mind, the company discovered cutting edge research which was conducted in Europe where hemp was legalized. Details of the final product or the breakthrough were not revealed and within three years, they are ready to integrate it into their clothing.
If the integration of cottonized-hemp is done properly with the products of the industry, a revolution will begin in the clothing industries. However, Dillinger does not want to get the hopes of his customers too high for now since the process is still a novice state as of right now. Additional research needs to be conducted before the shift is made. Hemp can become another natural alternative to cotton rather than replacing it completely.
Dillinger has no hopes of it becoming a craze either. Usually when people go for sustainable products, quality needs to be sacrificed compared to non-sustainable products. However, for cottonized-hemp, making a sacrifice would not be necessary since the difference won’t be spotted from the pure cotton. Dillinger believes that once the research is done within 5 years, this type of product can revolutionize the clothing industries. If this is true, then we will save a lot of freshwater and help the planet with its preservation.