Life in the Country: What the Hemp?

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We're into sustainable brands and when we found United By Blue one of the many things that got our attention was their use of sustainable materials. Now most people are aware of Organic Cotton but the use of Hemp is once again becoming fashionable. Why once again? Well because Hemp has actually been used forever and the clothing industry is simply rediscovering what our ancestors already knew. 

United By Blue Organic Cotton : Sustainable Outdoor ClothingLeft: Organic Cotton provides unbeatable breathability and comfort and is far better for the environment than non-organic cotton but Hemp is a great sustainable replacement if you want to take it that bit further. 

There is evidence that Hemp was used in fabric as far back as 8000 BC. Despite modern machinery vastly improving the problem of labour intensive harvesting that was the downside of growing Hemp, new synthetic fibres emerged in the early 20th century that pushed Hemp to one side. But Hemp was an ancient favourite for a number of reasons and, with modern society very slowly moving away from hydrocarbon heavy materials, it is deservedly having its time again. Even with the growing popularity of Organic Cotton Hemp provides a welcome choice for sustainably minded consumers. We've done a bit of digging to provide a bit more insight.

Hemp requires half the amount of water to grow compared to Cotton. In fact, in a number of areas where Cotton is grown desertification is becoming a real problem. Hemp also yields around 200-250% more fibre compared to the equivalent area of land with cotton plants. 

As well as requiring a lot of water to grow traditionally Cotton also requires a lot of pesticides which is really bad news for us and for the bees. Trace amounts of the pesticides remain on the items of clothing and can be absorbed through our skin. Organic Cotton has thankfully started to emerge but the scale of Cotton farming means it still makes up over 20% of the world's use of pesticides. Hemp, however, grows like a weed and therefore doesn't require pesticides. 

Enough about growing what about the clothes themselves. Organic Cotton is so popular because of the comfort factor. It starts ridiculously soft and only gets softer as you break it in. It is also highly breathable and doesn't start to smell like some synthetic fabrics. For these factors Organic Cotton sets a high bar.

Made to measure - Hardwearing and a comfortable fit

Above: United By Blue's Men's Bison Button down - made with 53% hemp and 44% recycled polyester.

Hemp is a much more durable material and therefore can start off a bit stiffer than cotton. Like Organic Cotton as your wear it the fibres break down and it becomes softer with every wear and wash. Similarly to Organic Cotton Hemp also does not hold odours and is highly breathable. Unlike Cotton which is naturally white or cream, Hemp grows in a variety of colours.

Whether you prefer the softness of Organic Cotton or the durability of Hemp these two sustainably grown materials make for a great United By Blue collection

Recommended products include: 

Womens Fox Trail Pop-Over...



















Tacony Hemp Sock

And of course the Mens Bison Print Button Down...

Mens Bison Print Button Down

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