levi's sustainabe hemp jeans

Hemp Is The New Black: Why You’re Suddenly Seeing Hemp In Your Clothes, Food And Homewares

Do you remember the moment when you found out potatoes, aka starchy miracles, are the vegetable that gives us both hot chips and vodka? We don’t, but we’re pretty sure it was a good day. And so is today, because we’re talking about our other favourite stand out crop: hemp.

Even if you’ve only been paying half attention, the spread of hemp throughout our clothing, food, drinks, cosmetics, and furniture is becoming pretty ubiquitous. We’re talking an estimated 25,000 different hemp prods worldwide here, and yes, it’s the range for us. If your heart really desired, you could sip on a hemp protein smoothie, listen to music through hemp headphones, slap on some hemp-infused skincare, and drive to the shops, in your car fitted with interior panels made of hemp, of course.

As well as being an overachieving multi-tasker, it’s almost suspicious how good the sustainability credentials of the hemp plant are. While it could change the game in a number of industries, fashion is where it’s really flexing. Hemp uses less than a third of the water that’s needed to grow cotton, and it actually yields around 200% more fibre. Those hemp fibres make clothing that’s lightweight, absorbent and stronger than cotton, btw. Conventional cotton is also one of the most produced crops in the world, and shifting away from it is v important for not sucking the planet literally dry.

Hemp requires pretty minimal fertiliser and naturally resists pests—meaning less pesticide use—and it can actually improve the soil where it’s grown and capture carbon emissions. In a way, the current hemp renaissance in fashion is both low-key vindication for hemp-wearing hippies of the past, and also a trend that’s good for the planet.

Unfortunately, various historical and political factors and uh, associations with a different plant led to a lot of the current restrictions and misinformation around hemp that’s hindered its use.

While we maintain our edict that you can’t buy sustainability, we can vote with our $ for options that are more regenerative rather than destructive. Below, Syrup‘s rounded up some of our tried and tested hemp-featuring favourites.

Fashion

There’s an old urban legend that the first pair of Levi’s jeans were actually made from hemp. While that’s not at all true (oop) Levi’s have actually been making jeans using hemp for a moment now. Chucking them on, it’s hard to tell the difference from regular cotton denim: the High Loose Jeans hug and slouch in all the important places and feel pretty much identical. This was not a happy accident. Levi’s actually partnered with tech specialists to create their Cottonised Hemp, which basically softens it to make it look and feel exactly like cotton and uses less water.

If you’re into the loose look but don’t have a “must hit above the belly button” mandate for high-waisted jeans, we’d suggest the Stay Loose style. The light washes are ideal for pairing w sneakers for casual days, and there’s also a tan chino-esque colour that we reckon would be amazing for some ‘70s-inspired Wisdom Kaye vibes.

Hemp alone can sometimes wrinkle easily and be a little less rich in colour, but these jeans also use sustainably farmed cotton in the mix. Levi’s have built some impressive sustainability practices into their business, so much so that we hit them up as susty denim experts. But, maybe what’s perhaps even more important is… they’re really good jeans. And is there anything sartorial moment sweeter than replying to a denim compliment with a thank you and a diatribe about how your susty your jeans are? No.

levi's cottonised hemp jeans

High Loose Jeans, $149.95 from Levi’s.

levi's cottonised hemp jeans

Stay Loose Jeans, $149.95 from Levi’s.

Food

As well as being a great option to look for in clothing that goes on your body, hemp is also an excellent thing to put in your body. In our keto-obsessed era, hemp seeds come in especially handy for those who aren’t that keen on a burger. High in protein, “good” omega fatty acids, and containing all nine amino acids (which our body cannot produce), hemp seeds are in all those salad and smoothie bowl IGs for a good reason. If you’re not super keen on salad sprinklings, we’re into this hemp protein powder.

hemp protein powder

Organic Hemp Protein Powder, $24.95 from Honest to Goodness.

Beauty

As well as being a current darling in the sexy world of textiles, hemp has been infused, supercharged, and boosted far and wide throughout the realm of cosmetics. Think hemp seed oil to feed your skin with that nutrient-rich blend of omegas and amino acids or ~hemp cell culture extracts~ packed with antioxidants to fight oxidative damage. There are about as many topical benefits to hemp as there are ingestible ones. If you’re looking for something to try, we’re big fans of this excellent brightening and gently exfoliating face mask.

andalou naturals hemp mask

CannaCell Glow Mask, $24.99 from Analou Naturals.

Interiors

Finally, hemp is also unexpectedly abundant in things to decorate your space. The increased time indoors this year has absolutely confirmed for us that environment impacts mood. But what’s the go if you’re sick of your space but can’t do a full-on reno? Get smart with impactful additions: like a hemp rug, vibrant hemp bed sheets, or this incredible hemp armchair that lives in our brains rent-free. We’re particularly into this rug, and bc it’s made from hemp, it also doesn’t attract dust and dirt. Ideal for those who haven’t yet taken up cleaning as a coping mechanism.

hemp floor rug

Rani Diamond Pattern Flatweave Hemp Rug, $489.00 from Miss Amara.

Levi’s have long been icons in the fashion space and now they’re innovators in the world of sustainability too. Shop Levi’s Cottonised Hemp jeans range to feel good while you feel great in your sustainable jeans.

Monisha is a writer with a background in publishing and digital media. A chronic Pisces, she’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.