Levi Strauss & Co. just created a new clothing line that “feels just like cotton” but is made in part with hemp.
The infamous Levi’s brand is turning to hemp in an attempt to be more environmentally conscious. Hemp requires much less water and land to grow than other materials, and its overall carbon footprint is about half that of cotton. The hemp used by Levi’s is sourced from rain-fed crops that reduce water waste by about 30 percent.
Over the years, the apparel industry has been under fire for a lack of environmental sustainability. Everything from the use of raw materials, to manufacturing procedures, and all the way to retail techniques have been scrutinized. Practices such as using too many natural resources, creating pollution, and throwing out garments have been causing a scene in the media; and brands – including C&A, Timberland, The North Face, and Vans – are taking note of these criticisms.
Hemp is not widely used in the clothing industry due to its rough, coarse feel. However, Levi’s has discovered a way to soften the material, making it feel almost exactly as comfortable as cotton. The new articles of clothing in their Wellthread x Outerknown collection include jeans and a trucker jacket, both made with a 70/30 cotton/hemp blend.
The Levi’s Wellthread Collection launched back in 2015 and has been using an innovative dyeing technology that uses about 70 percent less water than standard, indigo denim dying. The Wellthread x Outerknown collection launched last September.
The collection also includes single-fiber nylon board shorts that are fully recyclable, plus some western-style button down shirts made of 100% cotton. They plan to add more hemp material to their clothing items in the very near future.
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