Raw Hemp Sweatpants
Ultra-soft sweatpants made from nature and left in their raw, undyed state.
- The sweatpants are left in their raw, undyed state
- Built with 55% hemp
- Hemp combined with organic cotton for softness
Hemp has been banned by governments, had war declared against it, and been accused of bringing down modern society. But the truth is hemp is one of the most extraordinary plants on Earth. With 4x the durability and 8x the tensile strength of cotton, the Egyptians used it to haul rocks around when they were building the pyramids, and Chinese warlords built their armour from it. Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the New World in 1492 was made possible thanks to the strength of his hemp sails.
From an environmental perspective every tonne of hemp produced removes 1.6 tonnes of CO2 from the air. It requires zero pesticides and very little water to cultivate. And it’s so smart scientists now use it to clean up soil, water and air contaminated with radioactive isotopes after nuclear meltdowns.
As for clothing, the plant’s fibres grow to over 4 metres which makes them incredibly soft yet really strong. It’s breathable, water repellent, antibacterial, UV resistant and biodegradable. So we’re now going back to building clothes out of it in its raw and undyed state.
Our first raw clothing
Since 2019 we’ve been exploring how we can create clothing using as few resources as possible. As well as creating clothing out of garbage streams that were heading to the dump, we’ve also been working with black algae, blue-green algae, pomegranates, mangoes, eucalyptus and beech. And now, we’re starting work on raw clothing. We’re focusing on nature’s most brilliant materials, then doing as little as humanly possible to turn them from plants into clothing. And it all starts with our Raw Hemp Sweatpants, which are left in their raw and undyed state.
We’re using nature to make the colour white
We’re already working with black algae to reinvent how the colour black is made. Now we’re using nature to remake the colour white. When you create a piece of clothing without putting it through a dyeing process, the final colour depends entirely on the natural pigment of the fibres that have been used. So the Raw Hemp Sweatpants are an off-white because that’s the natural colour of the plant’s fibres. It’s built from a blend of organic hemp and organic cotton which makes it incredibly soft. And with no dyes, you’re looking at a new way of creating the colour white by using the inside of the plant itself.
Making clothes like our ancestors made them
While most industries can be improved by heading forwards as fast as possible, one of the biggest advances clothing can make is by heading backwards a few thousand years to when our ancestors were making clothes from grass, tree bark, animal skins and plants. Today we’re trying to get back to using nature to make clothes that require as little energy as possible and leave almost no trace of their existence at the end of their lives. And this means breaking apart many of the standard processes used in the industry today.
What the sweatpants feel like
The Raw Hemp Sweatpants are soft and easy to wear. The fabric’s fibres are hollow – just like you get with other natural fibres like Merino – so it traps pockets of air to keep you warmer in winter, but it also allows the hoodie to breathe easily in summer. And we’ve designed every detail for softness. The underside of the material has a fleecy texture, and you’ll find two hand pockets which are super soft on the inside.
You can wear them all day long
Because hemp fibre is porous, it’s naturally highly breathable and moisture-wicking, so it’s easy to wear all day. It can absorb up to 20% of its own weight while still feeling dry. It’s also antibacterial, so if you want to smell good all day long, hemp is the perfect choice. It blocks UV-A and UV-B rays. And thanks to its high resistance to ultraviolet light, it won’t disintegrate from sunlight like other natural fabrics.
Every pair will be slightly different
When fabrics are dyed, they also go through a series of processes designed to stabilise the material and make it easier to work with at scale. When you take some of these processes away, you actually add complexity and create a new and unique set of challenges – for instance the material might shrink or stretch while you’re cutting it and turning it into a piece of clothing. All commercial clothing is produced with something called a tolerance. The tolerance means that if you buy two identical pieces of clothing, you might find a 1cm difference between the two lengths if you got out a measuring tape. In the Raw Hemp Sweatpants we’ve had to allow for up to a 3cm difference.
Elasticated and rope tied waist
The sweatpants are elasticated at the waist and fasten with a rope finished with macramé, an ancient ‘square knotting’ technique dating back to Babylonian times. As part of the challenges of working with raw clothing, we’re still in R&D searching for solutions to the waistband and drawcords. For now, the waistband needs to contain a small amount of elastane to do its job, and the cords (which can be removed) are treated with dye. The official colour of the cords is called White Asparagus, which, for those of you reading this between April and June, is in season.
Hemp is a high-performance material
With advances in man-made materials, and the myth and misconception that surrounds everything associated with cannabis, hemp’s unique properties could easily be forgotten. But they shouldn’t be. From an environmental perspective every tonne of hemp produced removes 1.6 tonnes of CO2 from the air. It kills weeds, purifies soil, grows super-fast and will thrive almost anywhere in the world. It requires zero pesticides and very little water to cultivate. And it’s so smart scientists now use it to clean up soil, water and air contaminated with radioactive isotopes after nuclear meltdowns.
Our hemp is incredibly soft yet strong
As for clothing, a single hemp fibre can grow to over 4 metres which makes it incredibly soft yet really strong – as there are fewer joints to act as weak points. New developments in the way we process the fibres mean it can be used to create some of the most soothing natural fabrics around, but without compromising on strength and durability. Hemp keeps its shape and won’t go saggy. It resists pilling and softens over time, meaning it gets more comfortable the more you wear it. As the saying goes, “hemp doesn’t wear out, it wears in.” It’s also breathable, water repellent, antibacterial and UV resistant.
Irrigated with mountain rainwater
We source our hemp from the most northerly province in China, Heilongjiang, working with a partner committed to producing materials sustainably. The region is known for its remote mountain ranges which supply farmlands with clean rainwater. They use this rainwater to irrigate the hemp fields, which reduces water consumption and leads to a stronger and smoother hemp plant. And that leads to a stronger and smoother pair of sweatpants.
The idea of raw isn’t new in architecture or food
The history of raw materials has long been embraced in architecture – the Bauhaus preached ‘truth to materials’ – which essentially meant showing what each material is doing. If a steel beam is holding up your house, don’t hide it under something else. It’s also been reframing how we think about food too. The Cook It Raw movement co-founded by Rene Redzepi of Noma has been encouraging the idea of making food with as few appliances as possible – ideally just your hands, a knife, and a fire. And has produced dishes like beef tartare cured in kelp and flavoured with citrus-tasting wood ants.
Now it is clothing’s turn
50,000 years ago prehistoric man wouldn’t have called it ‘truth to materials.’ They simply caught the mammoth and wore the mammoth. Or cut the grass, wore the grass. They also understood the power of hemp of course, and used it to spin the first ever fibre. But modern day supply chains are complex things. They’re really set up to keep the status quo exactly as it is. Or at least encourage you to do exactly the same thing as everyone else. So if you want to make t shirts with algae, or jackets out of copper, sweatshirts out of garbage, or sweatpants out of raw hemp, it’s surprisingly quite a lot more difficult than you’d think.
You need exceptional materials to make raw clothing
We turned to hemp because it’s so strong. With 4x the durability and 8x the tensile strength of cotton, the Egyptians then used it to haul rocks around when they were building the pyramids. The Vikings relied on hemp ropes, sails, and nets for their voyages. Chinese warlords built their armour from it. Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the New World in 1492 was made possible thanks to the strength of his hemp sails – in fact he was so concerned about getting stranded in whatever distant land they reached, he loaded his ships with hemp seeds in the case they needed to grow more sails.
Seven US presidents smoked it
At one time, hemp was the solution to almost any problem. Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa on hemp canvas – the word canvas comes from cannabis. Early presidential letters indicate that at least 7 presidents, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, smoked it. And one of Henry Ford’s most cutting-edge cars was almost entirely built out of hemp and ran on hemp fuel, leading Mechanical Engineering magazine to call hemp “the most profitable and desirable crop that can be grown”.
Today hemp is a plant with a PR problem
But then things went sideways. The petrochemical, pulp-paper and nylon industries – who all stood to lose billions of dollars if the commercial potential of hemp was realised – campaigned against it. Propaganda, conspiracy theories and drug hysteria kicked in soon after, and hemp’s position as the wonder plant of the future took a beating with headlines like “Marihuana: The Assassin of Youth” and “Sex-Crazing Drug Menace.”
War was declared on hemp
In 1937 Roosevelt passed the Marihuana Tax Act effectively making hemp pointless to grow because it was so expensive. And by the 1970s the DEA’s war on drugs was funding a program to crop dust fields of hemp with paraquat, a chemical herbicide known to cause irreversible kidney damage, respiratory failure, and death.
Hemp is on a comeback
By the mid 80s the only two hemp products you could buy legally in the US were Hungarian twine and sterilised bird seed. But conservationists lobbied for its return, citing its huge economic and environmental benefits. The UK and Germany resumed commercial production in the 1990s. In 2013, farmers in Colorado harvested several acres of hemp, bringing the first hemp crop to the US in over 50 years. And today at least 47 US states have enacted legislation to establish hemp production programs or allow for hemp research.
Size + Fit
The Raw Hemp Sweatpants are designed with a regular fit.
|Fits waist||71 - 76||76 - 81||81 - 86||86 - 91||91 - 96||96 - 101|
|Fits waist||28 - 30||30 - 32||32 - 34||34 - 36||36 - 38||38 - 40|