Why is hemp clothing expensive?

why hemp clothing is expensive

Adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle is easy and gratifying. When looking to replace your clothes with a more friendly material, hemp is a perfect choice. At least until you notice the difference in prices between hemp and other fabrics. Hemp is more expensive, but should that stop you from buying it? No, not really, in fact, you should buy more hemp clothes. Here I will share why hemp clothing is so expensive, yet so worth buying.

Why is hemp clothing so expensive?

Hemp clothes are very sustainable and environmentally friendly. However, the only downside is the price, here are some reasons why hemp is expensive.

Hemp clothing is still a small industry

Because hemp has been forbidden for almost 100 years, the growth of its industry has been delayed. The potential of the success of this industry is huge, but it's still on its baby steps. Compared to other natural materials used to produce clothing, hemp is still significantly behind. However, the hemp industry is starting to bloom and reach new records every day. 

As more and more people want to reduce their carbon imprint and make the world a better place, due to its previous long ban hemp is naturally more expensive but as more people buy, the more likely it is for the prices to go down. 

There is low production of hemp fibers

According to the data of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, hemp fibers raised to only 60,657 tons in 2018. Although this might seem like a big number it's still very low compared to cotton, which is 30.3 million tons. The hemp plant grows in places with warm environments and on a large diversity of soils, which is very similar to corn. Some of the largest producers of hemp in the world are North Korea, China, and Italy. 

Hemp cultivation is very limited only because of the reproduction of hemp goods, including clothes, which is still a very small industry. This can also be justified due to the low demand, but this seems to be changing. Due to the very low availability of hemp fibers are one of the main reasons that retain the prices of pure hemp clothing considerably high.

Hemp is a natural organic and fair trade fiber

Hemp is one of the biggest environmentally beneficial fibers in the world. Hemp also has the potential to produce a bigger amount of fibers compared to cotton. Not only that but hemp grows extremely fast, in only 100 days, without the need for much water or harsh chemicals. Hemp is considered organic as it's non-GMO (genetically modified organism). Hemp is grown without pesticides or fertilizers.

But an organic certification is required to be marketed as such. An inspection from a third-party organization is required to confirm the material's quality and its environmental friendliness. When looking for pure and organic certifications check for certifications claimed by: 

  • The United States Department of Agriculture
  • The European Union Organic Certification Agency
  • The Global Organic Textile Standard

Sadly, hemp isn't recognized as a rich fiber by fashion designers, labels, and consumers. This is one of the reasons why hemp is still so expensive. 

Hemp is less popular than cotton

Hemp is one of the most sustainable and long-lasting options for clothing as a natural material. The impact that has on the environment is far less damaging. The benefits of growing hemp are also extremely more advantageous than cotton, still compared to the demand for cotton, hemp is still very behind. In fact, with so many benefits it's still hard to understand why hemp is not as popular or even more.

People choose to buy cotton clothes because it's cheap and cotton is well known in the clothes industry. The problem is that cotton makes a huge negative impact on the environment and our health. Cotton is also cheaper because it has a high demand. But if more people would buy hemp clothes, then the price of hemp would go down as more people and companies would be looking for more products. 

Not many people buy hemp clothing

The demand for the hemp industry needs to rise in order for the hemp clothes prices to go down. The availability of hemp fibers is still very low and there are only a few brands or designers that create clothing made out of hemp. Demand is key to reducing prices, as well as the amount of supply. 

For example, if a product is in high demand by consumers, then the number of businesses will rise up to meet that demand. And with more business ordering products then the production of those products will of course also increase. This rhythm will begin to take the cost per unit of hemp down and you will see that change on the price. 

It all starts with you. The more we buy, the faster the industry develops and with that, we will be offered better prices for eco-friendly clothes that are super comfortable and safe for the environment. 

Hemp clothes have a bad reputation

There is still a lot of stigma surrounding hemp. Some people don't understand the difference between hemp and marijuana. Hemp and marijuana don't have the same components. Hemp is a cannabis plant that can be easily mistaken for marijuana. But one of the biggest differences is that hemp has almost no traces of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the active psychoactive chemical in the cannabis plant that causes the feeling of being high. Hemp can't provoke that feeling.

Due to this misconception, when marijuana was made illegal in 1937, hemp went down with it. This has branded hemp as a schedule 1 illicit drug giving hemp a bad reputation. And even though hemp has been legalized since 2018, there is still a lot of misconception around this magical plant. 

The bad perception of the effects of hemp and its ban has impacted the potential of its industry. The misconception is so great that some people still think they can fail a drug test just because they are wearing clothes made of hemp. Because of this, the hemp clothing industry is still relatively small. 


The benefits of wearing hemp clothing are extremely beneficial. The impact that it has on our ecosystem is incredibly positive. Hemp clothes are comfortable, gorgeous, and incredibly gentle on your skin due to not having harsh chemicals. Imagine a day when hemp costs just as much as cotton or becomes even cheaper! Imagine the benefits that it will have on our world. The good news is that we can make this happen if we commit to buying hemp clothing. The change begins with you. 


  • Murray

    What is the price difference between hemp and cotton?

  • Wendy Haslam

    An accurate article apart from ‘hemp grows in warm countries’ and it was made illegal because of its similarity to Marijuna. Hemp was grown all around the world, including Britain, and was used widely for ships, ropes, and tough textiles until the discovery of textiles made from oil. It was then that governments, backing the oil industry, outlawed hemp. Hemp now can be made into much softer textiles, plastics, building materials and thousands of other products. It is a very good source of balanced omega oils and bioavailable complete proteins.I have been trying to spread the word about hemp for years but it needs investment in processing plants (there is only one in Britain) and pressure put on the government to make hemp growing worth while for farmers, for whom it could be a great cash crop in between other crops as it feeds the ground and grows so quickly.

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