Cultivated for industrial and commercial purposes, Cannabis Sativa, more widely-known as Hemp, is known for its versatility. It can be used for fuel, food, soap, cosmetics, construction materials, paper, and clothing. Although Canada grows this plant mainly for seeds, its use as a wearable garment is now increasing in popularity. Consequently, hemp production in this country has more than doubled within the last decade.
In 1999, Canada allocated 2,400 hectares specifically for hemp production. In 2009, the acreage was increased to 5,600 hectares. These new type of clothes commands a steady increase in demand. This has ultimately led Canadian farmers to show a growing interest in the development of hemp and its uses. Hemp generates a higher income per hectare than that of cotton’s.
Clothing materials made from this valuable plant is often blended with cotton to make the end-product softer as opposed to its natural characteristic which is hard and coarse. While cotton generally consumes more resources, the Canadian National Resource Council or NRC was partly able to patent a ground-breaking enzyme process that transforms industrial hemp into white, soft, Canadian cotton. This fabric is now popularly referred to as Crailar. This development has stirred and prospered the Canada fashion industry.
Local garment retailers, naturally displaying their competitive edge, have appealed to the eco-friendly society and emphasized fair trade ethics of Canadian-made garments, so there were drawbacks that the Canada hemp clothing industry had to face. First, its association with marijuana had led to the assumption that the materials used for this fabric were produced illegally. Hemp products were then mistaken to have been favoured only by hippies and made it look inappropriate to use as commonplace apparel.
Also, they were originally sold at a relatively high cost. To overcome this, Canadian wholesalers have embarked on discount programs, with the promise of lower shipping, customs and brokerage fees for all bulk buying customers. Similarly, retailers in Canada offer various clothing items on sale, whilst also placing a keen emphasis on the advantages that hemp clothes present, especially to those who are sensitive to chemical and environmental allergens.