Denim Dudes are really excited about the future possibilities of hemp denim which we explored deeply in our recent DENIM DIRECTORY report.

Hemp is having quite a moment in the market since it was removed from the US Schedule 1 controlled substances list back in 2018 and became available for broad agricultural cultivation. It’s many sustainable attributes have captured the attention of the apparel world, particularly in jeanswear because of its innate strength, its ability to sequester carbon, nourish our soils, it’s speedy growth rate and it’s ability to get rid of unwanted pests without any pesticides.

But Hemp is also probably the oldest fibre known to man, with a history that stretches back over 10,000 years. Its a BAST fibre; a group of strong, cellulosic fibres obtained from the phloem or outer bark of jute, kenaf, flax and hemp plants.

We’ve seen many mills tap this new fibre source and expect it to continue to grow in demand over the upcoming years, but a recent supply chain collaboration just dropped and totally caught our eye today; a project between many denim industry names and led by the team at Lenzing.

But Lenzing are known for their Tencel and Lyocel expertise I hear you say! This is true, but TENCEL™  branded lyocell and modal fibers make the perfect blending partner for conventional and cottonized hemp. Just as TENCEL™  Lyocell is built for blending, this project set out to explore if this basket of cellulosic fibers could enhance each other in both aesthetics and performance. Spoiler alert: it did!

“In order to pay homage to the history of hemp, we brought together a group of companies who we knew could deliver both the quality, innovation and environmental integrity that the Sustainable Denim Wardrobe projects demand.”

— Michael Kininmonth, Lenzing Project Manager

This extensive project, consisting of 9 fabrics and 18 garments has been in the works for over a year, weathering a few hold-ups due to the global pandemic, but the collection will be presented at this week’s Kingpins24 in both the live and on-demand program. The videos will be available on the Blue Lenz youtube channel after the Kingpins24 event and in perfect timing for Earth Day too.

Lenzing tapped multiple collaborators to work on the project: GOTS certified conventional and cottonized hemp fibers and yarns came from Kingdom (the largest linen and hemp yarn spinners in the world), Naveena Denim engineered, blended and created the denim from their facility in Pakistan, Endrime studio from the UK were on design and creative direction as well as pattern cutting and sewing the entire collection, Jeanologia drove the sustainable laundry effects and washing and Officina+39 provided their Recycrom dyestuffs, a patented range originating from recycled used clothing, fibrous material and textile scraps.

Every single detail of the collection was considered from an environmental perspective; all the joker labels and hang-tags were made from the off-cuts from the fabrics used in the collection. Duncan Eldridge from Warpface making what he calls ‘honest’ paper and card. Even the 100% certified TENCEL™  Lyocell thread (Celofil®) was developed especially to be used with all types of garments, and is 100% biodegradable.

The collection was shot in Shot on location in Saltdean, Brighton on 28th March 2021. Modeled by denim dudette, Kelly Harrington, Saskia @ Present Model Management and Alex at D1 models.

The video was Directed by Oscar Oldershaw with photography by Nick Clements.

“I personally wanted to explore the mid-1800s, by making period-correct garments and fabrics from the time of early denim and workwear. Historically early workwear garments would have been made with hemp and linen. It was a complete pleasure to design, pattern cut and sew the entire collection"

- Mohsin Sajid, owner and creative director, Endrime

Tencel is one today’s newest fibres at only about 30 years old and its so interesting seeing how effectively it has complimented the ancient and natural Hemp. We hope that as consumer trust and knowledge grows, and technology creates more opportunity to finesse, sustainable fibers like hemp will become more popular and widely used in the denim market.

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Trend forecaster, denim designer, industry journalist and author of Denim Dudes.