Now that hemp is steadily gaining ground with politicians, entrepreneurs and farmers, the hemp fiber and textile industry is beginning to take shape in states throughout the U.S. And with large retailers and the broader public are learning more about what hemp fiber can offer in terms of performance – strength, durability, anti-odor properties – and ecological sustainability, the supply chain infrastructure is finally re-emerging after almost five decades of federal prohibition.
Because much of the natural fiber market in America has been long-dominated by resources like cotton and wool, most textile technologies for processing fiber into finished products have been modeled around the respective qualities of those materials. And due to traits like super-strength, hemp fiber processing has many of its own unique challenges in the face of modern machinery on U.S. farms and inside yarn spinning mills.
A forerunner of the 'cottonized hemp fiber' processing movement is Bastcore, a Nebraska-based company which purchases raw hemp grown by U.S. farmers and has developed a proprietary process for the conversion of hemp stalks into commercial materials for textiles, composites and even energy production. Led by CEO John Lupien, Bastcore is unique among fiber processors in America in its ability to produce fiber that is of high enough quality to be considered textile-grade.
Bastcore’s mission of American-grown raw hemp textiles matches our own as a brand, so over multiple years of research and information-sharing, a formal partnership was just recently announced on Business Insider. Recreator seeks to be the first brand to sell a U.S.-grown and manufactured hemp garment from fiber coming from farms in Colorado, Kentucky and Minnesota, with several other states expressing interest in the project.
"This fiber supply contract marks a historic milestone in the U.S. Hemp Industry, and particularly for American-made hemp textiles, since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill," Bastcore CEO John Lupien said in an announcement about the deal.
Earlier this month, Bastcore hosted an open-house, allowing curious media and businesses to learn more about the past, present and future state of hemp fiber refinement processes. If you’d like an inside look, checkout this great read from our friends at Fibershed.
At Recreator, we firmly believe in investing in the development of our domestic supply chains and manufacturing rather than solely focusing on overseas imports from Asia and Europe. At the moment, our manufacturing process (How to Make It in America : Part I) takes place within the Los Angeles area, and in doing so, we have developed relationships with local knitting mills as well as those who spin thread and yarn to be made into fabrics and finished products. We feel well-positioned to take the high quality fibers from Bastcore, and transform them into an array of quality hemp T-shirts and accessory items: American-made from seed to stitch.
One of the early motivating factors for using hemp fiber was its ability to increase the wealth and self-sufficiency of rural communities in the U.S. Because of hemp’s wide array of uses: in food, fiber, fuel, building materials, and so much more, we believe it has the potential to alter the way we think about agriculture and industrial resources now and in the future.
"This partnership should encourage rural communities to re-invest in natural fibers and textile production. We are excited to show the pull-through capacity of Recreator by implementing Bastcore’s American-grown and processed hemp fiber into our premium apparel line," says Recreator representatives.
Stay tuned for updates from the frontline of hemp styles grown and sewn in the U.S.
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+ READ ON >>> Part 1: How To Make It In America