Rediscovering Hemp

Connie Ulasewicz, Allyson Cliett, Rachel Eike

Business Case
Source: Bloomsbury Fashion Business Cases
DOI: 10.5040/9781350197046.001
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As interests peak for sustainable apparel, there is an increasing demand for alternative, all-natural textile fibers. T-shirt company Jungmaven is attempting to disrupt the environmentally unfriendly cotton industry by producing sustainable tees made from hemp fibers. Hemp is not to be confused with a very similar cellulose fiber, flax, a major difference between the two being their growing rate and fiber length. Flax or linen, is usually half as long as hemp, which is why hemp is such a durable fiber and hemp has a higher yield, more usable fiber per acre than flax. Unfortunately, there exists a knowledge deficit among both consumers and apparel professionals regarding the fundamental properties of hemp fibers and the environmental benefits of hemp cultivation. This lack of understanding is compounded by legal and political controversy surrounding the hemp plant. In this case study, students will compare hemp and cotton fibers in terms of their fundamental properties, performance characteristics, and environmental effects. Additionally, participants will research the history of hemp textiles as well as current perceptions of hemp in the mainstream media. Finally, students will develop a marketing message and hangtag for a hemp apparel company that will promote the use of hemp and counter arguments against its utilization.

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