By Emily Ledger
The hemp plant has been used to thousands of ends during its long-spanning relationship with humans – one of the most enduring being the textile industry. It is thought that humans have been using hemp fibre to make clothing for up to 10,000 years, with the earliest evidence dating from around 8,000 BC, in Iraq.
In fact, most well-known ancient societies, from Greece to Rome, and China to India, made use of hemp for clothing. It was popular in the UK and the Americas, too. King Henry VIII was among its famous advocates, decreeing that all farmers in England were to dedicate a fraction of their land to farming the plant.
However, as the Cannabis plant was increasingly demonised throughout the world, low-THC hemp plants were grouped into the same category. In the last 100 years alone, the hemp fabric industry has become a niche market in the West. However, slowly, the market is beginning to pick up as awareness of the plant’s qualities spread.
So, where can you buy hemp clothing in the UK?
There is a growing market for sustainable clothing in the UK, with plenty of big companies jumping on the trend. Although hemp seems to be second-in-line behind organic cotton and bamboo, there are plenty of independent businesses that are passionate about the plant…
The Hemp Trading Co.
The Hemp Trading Co. has been in business since 1999 and sells clothing made exclusively from sustainable materials. Included in the company’s hemp catalog are t-shirts, socks, underwear, bags, and beanies. The artwork for the products have been created in-house by THTC associate artists, and the brand has collaborated with the likes of UB40 and the Environmental Investigation Agency.
Despite being named ‘Most outstanding eco brand of 2020’ in the SME News Business Elite Awards and earning a ‘Best Buy’ tag from Ethical Consumer. However, the owners of the brand are planning to cease production at their premises in Ealing, in 2020. The partners are planning to advocate more directly for sustainability in the fashion industry. That means that their current stock won’t last forever!
The Hemp Shop
The hemp shop offers a variety of brands and products to sustainability-conscious UK shoppers. Among their stock of hemp clothing, are collections of tops, trousers, skirts, and accessories that are suitable for everyone.
Also among their offerings are hemp-based nutrition, household items, CBD products, hemp beauty, and books and paper.
The largest company on our list is also one of the largest online retailers in the UK. Although Asos isn’t exclusively a hemp retailer, (far from it), it has begun to stock American sustainable clothing brand, SEEKER.
Further, it seems the Asos design team is also beginning to embrace the fabric itself, as they are currently stocking 100% hemp shorts. All of Asos’s hemp products are also currently on sale, so go take a look!