July 06, 2015

Hemp Renaissance

Hemp-Silk Dress - Eco Fashion Week - Wallis Evera

Hemp is the foundation fibre for all Wallis Evera products.  It is not the hemp of 1995 or 2005.  It is the fabric that the nimble and assertive Chinese economy has chosen as one of its key fabrics for manufacturing. Not only has hemp undergone a transition (much like cotton did hundreds of years ago) towards a versatile, beautiful, comfortable fabric that lasts -- it has also proven to be one of the most eco-friendly of the major fabrics. 

Canada is taking an active part in this hemp resurgence as well.

In 1998, Canada legalized the commercial cultivation of hemp, following a 60-year ban on the crop. Since then, hemp has sparked a lot of interest among Canadian farmers and has been gathering speed with consumers worldwide. We are at the cusp of a hemp renaissance.  According to the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, the industry is now estimated at more than $50 million, with some companies in the sector enjoying 20-40% growth rates in recent years.  

Currently, most of the hemp grown in Canada is for seed rather than fibre. Domestic fibre processing capacity for textile applications is still in the development and testing stages.

Wallis Evera fabrics are custom woven for us and imported from China.  We are also exploring fabric sources in Europe for our next collections.  All of our products are designed, cut and sewn locally, in Vancouver. However, as new technologies are refined and become available, there is a possibility of a future where the hemp clothing we make is from the hemp that's actually grown here, in Canada.  

We're not there yet, but the possibility exists, and that's exciting to us.