Materials That Matter
After officially one year of practicing more conscious consumerism, it is time to set new goals for 2019. One of my top goals for this year is to focus more on the impact of the materials used in items/products I purchase. I want this idea to stretch beyond my closet and into more aspects of my life as well. This involves first doing more research into what impact different materials actually have on the environment and the people that come in contact with them. Coming to understand this is a larger undertaking than I anticipated, however I am excited to see how this next year evolves my thinking about materials.
I have decided to start with the glorious material hemp! Although humans have been using hemp as material for thousands of years it has become more mainstream in the last decade. It is no longer exclusive to those shapeless, baggy hippie pants that a lot of people connect it to. Harvesting hemp is really what makes it the super plant it is. When growing hemp little to no herbicides and pesticides are needed because of its ability to kill off unwanted weeds and pests on its own. It also returns nearly 70% of the nutrients it takes and returns them back to the soil. According to a study done by the SIE, hemp uses 50% less water in its production than cotton. Although not all hemp is cut from the same cloth (yes… textile pun) there are still so many positives we can’t ignore, and as I dive more into the use of these textiles I am amazed by the process and importance in the choices we make. How can we support the hemp industry and encourage the use of hemp products?
Of course, knowledge will help you to make better decisions when choosing what new fabrics to add to your closet. Once you know what you are looking for, there is so many amazing brands to support that are already getting it right. WAMA underwear is my first experience with intentionally using a hemp-based product. WAMA is an incredible company that makes buying sustainable underwear easy for all genders. Their underwear is made of a hemp/cotton blend, with 3% spandex to help form and fit. I look for comfort in my underwear and that is not lost here. These organic hemp undies truly keep their form, without leaving any uncomfortable lines. I also find both the “women/men” styles to be fairly gender neutral in style and fit. However, sizes as of now only range from XS to XL, as a smaller company I hope as they grow, they will include more sizing options. When it comes to materials, I am always looking for no fuss fabric, and these are extremely easy to wash. An easy wash on cold on a regular cycle, and hang dry to help obtain their amazing form. Not only have they aced the product but their production is an ethical fair wage factory in China. They have team members there to monitor the factories standards of employee treatment. As a whole I am very pleased with my first hemp experience, and I know it’s a material I will be keeping my eye out for in the future.
I have also included links throughout, to some places where I started my research on materials. In addition I found this handbook by Summer Edwards on sustainable textiles so informed and helpful. Lastly WAMA’s website if you are in the market for some comfy undies as well.