Hemp Clothing at Orvis

The Fabric

Herringbone Hemp TrousersOrvis Hemp fabric is constructed of 100% hemp fibres – which are longer (each a foot long or greater, compared to 2-4" for the best cotton fibres) and stronger than cotton—woven together using a unique cross-weave technology. Hemp fibres are hollow so the fabric has the same cooling properties as linen. Each fibre moves heat and moisture away from the body. As a result, it breathes as well as linen and better than cotton yet is more durable than either—in fact, it’s 26 times stronger than cotton. All this in a fabric that resists wrinkling, is machine washable and dryer safe, and the easiest of the natural fabrics to care for and clean.

Tough Enough for Old Ironsides.

The U.S.S. Constitution, launched in 1797, was outfitted with 8 miles of running and 6.6 miles of standing rigging—14.6 miles of hemp-tarred cordage that carried Old Ironsides through 30 battles at sea without a defeat.

Hemp ClothingHemp Clothing

In those days, hemp was the strongest possible roping material available. Hemp fibres are much longer than other fibres, such as cotton, and longer fibres make stronger rope. Resistant to UV damage, hemp stayed strong in the harsh conditions common at sea. Hemp fibres were first woven into long strands and then woven by hand into long continuous lengths in unique buildings called ropewalks. When the U.S.S. Constitution was virtually rebuilt from 1927 to 1931, a steam-powered rope-making complex at the Charlestown Navy Yard was still able to manufacture the ancient-style four-stranded hemp shroud-laid cordage required for the warship’s standing rigging. America’s only remaining full-length ropewalk, this stone structure stretches one-quarter mile long.

Garments woven from hemp owe their strength to the fibre itself—with fibre lengths of a foot or more, it betters the average cotton fibre, which measures only about 3/4" long. Longer fibres make stronger yarn. Stronger yarn makes stronger garments.

Hemp Facts

  • Twenty-six times stronger than cotton.
  • More abrasion resistant than any other natural fabric, including denim.
  • Breathes as well as linen and better than cotton.
  • As effective insulator as wool.
  • The easiest of the natural fabrics to care for and clean.
  • Hemp grows well without herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides.
  • The hemp industry dates back more than 10,000 years. The Columbia History of the World claims that the oldest artifact of human industry is a scrap of hemp fabric from around 8,000 BC.

See the Orvis Hemp Collection for Men