With the reported advantages of making textiles from hemp being spread through each industry, denim companies are now looking to follow through on the fibrous crop’s promise.
One denim mill, Monforts already has customers adding hemp to their product lines. These companies include brands like Orta, Naveena Denim Mills, Black Peony, Calik, AGI Denim, Cone Denim, and Artistic Milliners.
“Hemp is an easy to grow fiber which requires no irrigation, no fertilizers, no herbicides, and no chemicals,” Allan Little, Director of Product Development for Cone Denim, told the press. “Significantly, it also uses fifty percent or even less water than cotton in cultivation.”
Cone denim recently launched its Sweet Leaf collection earlier this year which is made using hemp. The company is enthusiastic about the agricultural side of hemp as well as the mechanical properties too.
“Hemp has a unique color and adds a different cast to our indigo, the drape and texture of the fabrics is different and it even adds a bit of a unique hand, so combined with its sustainable credentials we are proud to be bringing the Sweet Leaf collection to the market,” Little said.
The company gets its hemp from France, but with the crop opening up in the US, there is a new possibility for sourcing raw materials. With so much of its production in Mexico, closer sourcing would be a significant win.
“With US hemp we’re really at the R&D phase,” said Little. “It’s a unique crop, so coming up with the right stalk to provide the right fiber is challenging. We’ve experimented with different types of seed and various methods of decortication.”
Monforts has gone through an extensive testing phase to find the best ways to work hemp into useable materials that meet the high-quality denim needs of its customers.
“Differentiation is the key in the highly-competitive denim industry and we have assisted our customers with trials and optimized processing parameters for a range of different fibers, including hemp, both at our Advanced Technology Centre in Germany and at their own mills around the world,” Hans Wroblowski, Head of Denim at Monforts, said.