5 days ago

Hemp Fibers & Fashions Have Come a Long Way

Summer Star Haeske discusses how hemp fabrics and fashions play a role in a greener, healthier planet.

For Summer Star Haeske, co-founder of EnviroTextiles, LLC, hemp textiles have always been a part of her life. Summer‘s mother, Barbara Filippone, is a world-renowned natural fibers fashion designer who helped her get started in the hemp fabrics and fashions industry.

Summer started as a child making necklaces and learning the fibers through hands-on experience and absorbing her mother's expertise. However, she was just ten years old when she sat in the first Senate hearings on industrial hemp. In other words, Summer has spent a lifetime educating people about hemp and hemp fiber.

Reflecting on 1992, when hemp only lost by one vote, Summer stated, “Who could’ve imagined it would take 22 years to legalize fully or that legal cannabis would lead the way?”

Hemp Fabrics Have Come a Long Way

Hemp fabrics are certainly not a new innovation. In fact, during our interview, Summer emphasized that hemp fashion started about 8000 years ago. But hemp has come a long way. Today, hemp fabrics are functional, diverse, and even exquisite.

No longer is hemp strictly the harsh, itchy-scratchy material that we typically think of with hemp. Today hemp materials and fabrics can replace nearly any other fabric on the market.

“When it comes to fabrics, we can replace almost everything,” she states. And, based on this conversation, it might not be a bad idea. Replacing our clothing and soft goods with the more eco-friendly hemp could have broad-reaching effects.

Toxins in our Clothes

Summer points out that the three most toxic industries globally- plastics, building materials, and textiles and fashions – can all be reimagined with hemp.

She also explains the manufacturing process for other synthetic fibers such as polyesters and rayon. Unfortunately, like many other products in the hemp and cannabis space, she also explains how many clothing items are being "greenwashed” and marketed as natural fibers when they are anything but.

While fake, synthetic products have long been the bane of consumable products, Summer explains it’s happening in the fashion industry, too. She said London fashion week called out the greenwashing in the fashion industry, and Europe is setting new standards, rules, and guidelines about toxic textile manufacturing and fashions.

She said, “standard operating procedures at laboratories were testing materials that weren’t even at body temperature,” which caused Summer and her mother to question the validity of these tests. After suggesting higher temps during testing, they weren’t shocked at the results.

Summer explains it much like a bottle of drinking water. We’ve learned that leaving a plastic bottle of water in the sunlight in a car can increase the temperature of the plastic and leach toxins into the water. Similarly, clothing made with synthetic chemical fibers may be leaching chemicals onto your skin – especially in an environment with increased sunlight and heat.

Toxins are all around us; candles, dryer sheets, air fresheners, and other things that we burn in our home create toxins. Even the clothing we wear may contribute to over-exposure to toxins.

Small Steps, Big Changes

"People just need to reevaluate how they consume," Summer advised. "Taking small steps and making minor changes and how we consume can make a huge difference in the long run in our health."

With hemp clothing, you may pay a little more upfront for a particular piece of clothing; however, it will last longer, the colors will not fade, and the washing machine is not going to misshape it.

Plus, there’s intrinsic value to buying hemp. “Feel good about playing a part in this movement and know that every little step we can take matters,” Summer proclaimed.

Hemp Industrial Revolution

Summer believes the United States has the potential to create a new multiple marketplace foundation with hemp. She suggests "having wonderful, healthy, sustainable crops that produce goods and create great, healthy jobs, which could then put the United States back on the global trade with exporting hemp and hemp goods.”

No country has proven the model of full plant processing and developing multiple products off of one crop. Canada specializes in seed and hemp oil. China specializes in fabrics. Europe is focused on building goods. Could the US be the first nation to embrace hemp as an economic keystone?

Summer briefly mentions that she is also working on a new online hemp superstore to help highlight all of the fantastic products available and made by hemp.

Learn more about hemp fashions and EnviroTextiles by watching the video!