Once I had the idea of what I wanted on the shirt, I needed to find a shirt I could get excited about. It had to be environmentally friendly and fashionable. So I was thrilled when I discovered these shirts! The women’s shirts are fitted with a wider neck, so it’s a flattering cut! Most shirts are a blend of hemp and organic cotton. The kids and long sleeve shirts are bamboo and organic cotton.

And here are some fun facts about why I’m excited to be offering these shirts and not just conventionally grown fibers! Let our friends from Onno Textiles tell the story…

HEMP is an amazing plant that lasts a lifetime. Hemp has been in use since 770 AD. Since that time, it has been used to make everything from rope to clothing, to paper. As a fabric, hemp filters UV light, so your skin is protected. It resists bacterial growth and has four times the strength of cotton so it won’t weaken when washed.

A step away from cotton, the drape and hang of hemp has been compared to linen. Like a baseball glove you’ve had for ten years, hemp fabric becomes softer with use. Hemp also absorbs moisture quickly, keeping your body dry.

Our friend hemp is a versatile plant and it has a few heavy-weight titles. Hemp is the longest and strongest plant fiber. Because we are very concerned about our natural resource, water, it is heart-warming to know that hemp only uses 1/20th the amount of water to grow and process as regular cotton. Hemp is naturally less vulnerable to insects and crowds out other weeds so pesticides and fertilizers become obsolete when we deal with hemp.

Hemp can be worked into other materials like advanced composites which make everything from fast-food containers to skateboard decks to the body of a stealth fighter. The cellulose level of hemp is almost three times that of wood, which makes it a better choice for making paper and turns out four times as much pulp per acre than trees. It also uses less chemicals to process than regular paper, so we don’t have to worry about having three-eyed frogs as a by-product. Making paper with hemp doesn’t create any of the 2,000 chlorinated organic compounds that are by-products of the wood paper process.

ORGANIC COTTON Now you can keep wearing that comforting feel of cotton without the stress of what might be happening to the environment. And yes, regular cotton does stress our environment. But you have options and a one good one is organic anything, cotton included. Organic cotton t-shirts are produced from cotton that is generally rain-fed, using less water than regular cotton and no pesticides. The result is that what lies next to your skin is as pure and soft as an angel’s wings.

Because of what organic cotton t-shirts lack (all the bad things), they are usually great for people with sensitive skin or with allergies or irritations. There are almost no chemicals involved in the growing of or production of organic cotton t-shirts (we don’t actually grow the t-shirts, but you know what we mean).

Nothing beats the feel of cotton. That’s what the commercials say, but what they don’t tell you is that the feel of conventional cotton uses 25% of the world’s insecticides. Not just the US, but the world. Regular cotton also uses 10% of the world’s pesticides. In fact, regular cotton starts using pesticides on the seeds. The little babies haven’t even had time to say their first words, or sprout a twig, before they are brought down by the man. The man carrying the chemicals. From seeds onwards, chemicals are a continuous part of the growing process.

Organic cotton not only doesn’t use pesticides, but it uses a lot less water. How? Because organic cotton is a rotation crop. When crops are rotated the soil maintains its nutrients and is better able to hold water in. Regular cotton is usually the sole crop planted. Cotton depletes the soil, and leaves the soil incapable of holding water. Mass irrigation happens on regular cotton and uses 3,000 cubic meters more of water per acre to grow than organic cotton. Most organic cotton is rain-fed and not irrigated, so helps to save water in these times where over one third of the world’s population does not have clean drinking water.

BAMBOO grows everywhere–it can grow at sea level all the way up to 12,000 feet, where the air is thinner but the views are great (which is why perhaps it makes the effort worthwhile). There are more than 1,500 species of bamboo. It grows on every continent. It likes it wet or dry; bamboo can handle from 30-250 inches of annual rainfall, which is more than we can say for ourselves. The only places it doesn’t grow are the North and South Poles, and we don’t blame it. It’s a little chilly out there.

Bamboo stalks mature in just three to five years. They don’t fight or argue with each other, they just reach up to grab the sun. What a nice way of looking at life. Most commercial tree species take 25-70 years to mature, which causes a bit of a problem-it’s hard to replenish them at the same rate we cut them down. We need and love our trees not just for shade and beauty, but for the life-giving oxygen they release. Which is another reason to love bamboo clothing. A bamboo grove releases 35% more oxygen than the same size stand of trees. That’s more air for us to breathe!