Levi's now blends hemp and cotton for a more durable fabric

Jim Wilson / The New York Times
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Levi's says its fiber technology experts have deciphered the code that hemp looks like cotton.

In recent years, Levi Strauss & Co. has worked hard to reposition itself as a forward-looking, sustainability-conscious denim company. She did an admirable job, introducing a water-saving finishing process, offering recycling services for old clothes in all US stores, by launching a range of jeans made from old fishing nets. and encouraging customers to wash their jeans less often (or never).

Despite the long history of hemp as a material used in the manufacture of textiles and fabrics, modern clothing manufacturers have not yet adopted cannabis-based clothing. The reason: Hemp can be excellent for producing industrial fabrics, they say, but as a garment to wear, is a problem. And especially for consumers accustomed to the touch and feel of cotton. But Levi Strauss & Co. is about to bring about a change. The company says it has created a new line of hemp clothing that "looks like cotton," while using a fraction of the water needed to grow cotton.

Le hemp is known to be a much more durable material than cotton. It is a dense growing plant that stifles competing weeds and reduces the need for pesticides. It takes half as much water as cotton to grow, and when processing is taken into account, the difference is four times greater. In addition, it restores 60% of the nutrients it removes from the soil and returns to the soil.

Clothing manufacturers have been reluctant to use it so far.

Levi's new hemp jeans look like cotton, but use 30% less water

This is the first time we have been able to offer consumers a cotton hemp product that is as good, if not better, than cotton, "says Paul Dillinger, vice president of product innovation at Levi. A communicated The press goes on to explain that the company "uses a process developed by fiber technology experts that softens hemp, giving it an appearance and feel almost indistinguishable from cotton".

But now, she has just announced: a new collection made of a mixture of cotton and hemp. The collection Levi's® Wellthread ™ x Outerknown, launched 4 last March, is the company's first foray into using a special hemp that has been "cottoned" to feel like cotton.

The jeans and jacket in this collection are made from 70 / 30 blend of cotton and hemp, and all hemp comes from an exclusively rainfed crop; it does not require any additional irrigation and thus reduces 30% the water used for cultivation.

In addition, the collection contains T-shirts made of recycled denim and cotton / hemp blends, and a pair of 100% single fiber nylon shorts, which means they can be fully recycled. because no fiber separation is required:

"All materials: fabric, eyelets, soul, seams; are made of nylon, which means that they can theoretically be recycled in perpetuity and transformed into other nylon garments, which provides the closed-loop recyclability that has long eluded clothing manufacturers.

Levi's hemp clothing is available in the company's Wellthread by Outerknown spring / summer collections. For now, they only include jeans and a trucker jacket, but Levi's plans to expand the selection soon.

These are great initiatives, revealing a fashion industry that knows it has to change or must be held accountable for widespread ecological damage. I hope we will see many more interesting projects from Levi's.

But even if customers do not notice the difference, Mother Nature will do it. Hemp cultivation, compared to many other agricultural products, is much more sustainable. The carbon footprint of hemp is about half that of conventional cotton. And because hemp is a hardy plant that can grow in many climates, it uses much less water. Levi's says he sources hemp from crops grown in raids. This reduces water consumption by about one-third compared to cotton.

With its new hemp clothing line, Levi's could launch a major new trend in the apparel industry. A trend towards more environmentally friendly fabrics and sustainable sources of supply. As hemp is now legal at the federal level, expect more companies to use it. And if it's like cotton, it's the icing on the cake.

Tags : HempEnvironmentfashionTechnology