In collaboration with Hempea.
Slow living and sustainability are for me closely related to making well thought out purchases. I’ve already expressed my opinion on why I’ve greatly reduced the amount of clothes I own and why I buy clothes made with natural materials, but now I would like to expand the topic talking about a fabric that is being used in our family for more than a century and that has recently rejoined the ranks for our home textiles: hemp.
As I was saying, hemp is not a complete stranger for me. In fact, my great-grandmother from my father’s side used to grow her own hemp, which she would weave and make bed sheets and kitchen clothes out of it, on which she would embroider the family monograms. I’m happy to say I’ve inherited a few of her beautiful works. To this day, more than one hundred years later, we still use her beautiful embroidered fabrics and they look as good as I’m sure they did a century ago.
I’ve admired Marja-Maija’s work for some time and I’m so happy to have been chosen together with a few other talented content creators to be one of her brand’s ambassadors from now until the end of the year. Hempea is a Finnish textile company based in Ivalo, Lapland. All products are made out of hemp fabric, which is organically grown in Romania.
There are various environmental reasons why hemp is a sustainable choice.
By its nature hemp is organic. It’s a sturdy plant that doesn’t need pesticides, fertilizers nor irrigation (!), whereas, according to WWF, it takes more than 2,700 liters (713 gallons) of water to produce a single cotton shirt, which would be enough to sustain one person for 900 days.
Not only this, but hemp actually improves soil quality and therefore is an ideal element for crop rotation. As hemp grows very fast being ready to be harvested in about 4 months, researches have shown how this plant chokes and reduces weeds in the soil, not only for one season, but for the next growing seasons too. Moreover, hemp’s strong roots penetrate deep in the soil, anchoring and protecting it. They also build and preserve topsoil and add rich organic matter to the topsoil and help it retain moisture.
Now that we ascertained that hemp is a much better option than cotton, let’s see how it does compared with linen, which has been my favorite material so far. For one thing, hemp is a higher-yielding crop than flax and also is naturally a stronger fiber than flax, and cotton too, due to the fact that hemp fibers are much longer. Hemp stretches less than any other natural fiber, which is mostly a good thing. Also, flax is much more sensitive to weeds and pests, so it’s much harder to grow without pesticides or herbicides. Finally, studies found that hemp has a net positive effect on increasing biodiversity friendliness and is also a great source of nectar for bees, whereas flax provides a small amount of both pollen and nectar for honey bees. So, overall, considering also the benefits to the soil itself in hemp crops, hemp is a more sustainable choice than linen, even though linen remains a much better option than cotton.
Made to last
As a fabric, hemp is hypo-allergenic and non-irritating to the skin.
It is also highly breathable, meaning it exchanges moisture very quickly, keeping your skin dry at all times and therefore is a perfect material both for summer and winter clothes, but also for towels and bed sheets.
Hemp is a very sturdy fabric, so buying hemp products is an investment that is going to last for a long long time, and my great-grandma’s bed sheets testify just that.
Depending on how it’s woven, hemp can immediately feel soft. I was so surprised when I got Hempea’s waffle towels at how soft they were, quite differently woven from my great-grandma’s kitchen clothes! The great thing with hemp is that, since it’s made to last, in time and with every wash it will get even softer.
Hempea’s Stand Against Deforestation
With each order in their webshop, Hempea takes care of planting a tree for you, therefore helping deforestation. I love this idea as it shows how this company, which is based in Finland, the land of forests, has really the wellbeing of the whole planet at heart.