First launched in 2012, Hemp is made from an all-natural blend of wool and hemp fibres to create a fabric with impeccable eco-credentials and innate flame retardancy. Developed by Camira as part of their pioneering innovation work into the use of plant stem fibres in textiles, Hemp has become one of their most iconic and loved fabrics, selling thousands of metres since its introduction.
Grown as an agricultural crop under licence from the UK government Home Office on a farm in England, the hemp plants used within Hemp are the Cannabis sativa strain which contains only minute amounts of the psychoactive substance THC. Proven to capture atmospheric carbon twice as effectively as forests, recent research by the Centre for Natural Material Innovation at Cambridge estimates that industrial hemp absorbs between 8 and 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare of cultivation, whilst forests sequester between 2 and 6 tonnes.
Part of Camira’s collection of fabrics made from bast fibres, Hemp is made using the long stem of the hemp plant. Sown from seed and reaching over three metres in height in just 120 days, Camira plants 45kg of seed for every hectare which generates 6 tonnes of hemp straw, which in turn yields 1 tonne of textile fibre, equating to 5,400 metres of fabric.
Manufactured in an eco-conscious method, the process of separating the stem’s fibres for spinning into yarn begins with dew retting – a natural, sustainable way of allowing dew and rain to begin breaking down the tissues and pectins which surround the stem – which is then completed by mechanical decortication, during which the fine textile fibres are extracted from the heavier woody shiv commonly used in the creation of building materials and animal bedding. Once harvested, the hemp leaves are left behind to decompose and act as fertiliser for the following year’s crop. Requiring just 5kWh to produce 1kg of textile fibre, in comparison to 69kWh to produce 1kg of nylon, the environmental benefits of hemp extend across its lifecycle.
Jodie Padgett, Senior Innovator at Camira, comments, “With sustainable design more important now than ever before, we are delighted that Hemp has stood the test of time and remains a beloved fabric in our portfolio. One of our proudest achievements, it is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics on the market, providing incredible environmental benefits, and is also beautiful in its aesthetics. With its natural composition visible in its appealingly weathered finish and multi-tonal colouration, we look forward to Hemp continuing to play a valuable role as a sustainable textile staple in commercial interiors.”
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