Dressing sustainably just got easier

As the planet continues to careen into crisis at breakneck speed, those peace-and-love hippies and environmental activists, once derided and discounted by mainstream society, are emerging as the Cassandras of their day. Food should be grown more sustainably. Toxic chemicals are bad. We should be using renewable energy, and reducing waste, and cycling instead of driving. We should Give Earth a Chance and, yes, hemp clothing really is cool – at least when it’s in the right hands.

Intent on creating hemp clothes that retain a degree of style is Weekday. The Swedish fashion brand has just dropped Plant Based Limited Edition, a new collection of hemp-enhanced denim and plant-dyed basics. And rest assured, this is not the drab, crunchy hemp clothing of the past. With sculptural shapes, exaggerated silhouettes, and smart lace detailing all key, the pieces in the offering range from midi-skirts to boxy jackets. Rounding things off are a series of jersey basics coloured using only plant-based dyes.

When creating the collection, the design team looked to a muse they called “the modern tree-hugger” – a conscious person with a holistic mindset and an aesthetic edge. “Hemp as a textile can make you think of veggie spread and clothes that are available in health food stores,” says Alice Shulman, Weekday’s responsible womenswear designer. “We like that association and decided to maximise it in a few stand-alone pieces.”

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For the range, Weekday partnered with Agraloop, a company that transforms food crop waste – from wheat, rice, and corn to pineapple leaves and banana trunks – into new fibres. In this case, waste from oil-seed hemp production makes up the fabrics. But it’s not just fabrics that Agraloop is producing. Through its creation process, the company is responsible for a range of beneficial environmental and social impacts including generating bio-energy to power the local community and organic soil amendments to go back into the farm.

The Plant Based Limited Edition offering is the latest step in Weekday’s embrace of hemp fibre which has been slowly making its way into its designs. With hemp-organic cotton already in use within its mainline denim collection, styles are currently available in white and ecru, with the brand planning to branch out into indigo styles later this year.

“Hemp has been around for decades but its development got delayed because it was banned,” explains responsible denim designer Per Axén. “The processing of hemp is similar to that of cotton, and if we can just make it mainstream, we could grow our own hemp here in Sweden. It requires less land, water, and pesticides compared to cotton and enriches the soil it’s grown on.” 

The Plant Based Limited Edition launches March 4 and will be available exclusively online.