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hand made hand dyed hemp and organic cotton clothing

philosophy / ethics - super natural moral fiber
high performance, low impact clothing components for personal and planetary health - the fashion of being healthy... clothing made from organic sustainable biodegradable fiber is breathable, gentle, non-toxic, and a far more planet friendly alternative to synthetic fabrics, gmo cotton, and the excessive chemicals needed for growing and processing most non-organic materials

world wide, the fashion industry is responsible for an extreme amount of environmental pollution and waste... much of this is the product of vanity and poor consumption habits, reinforced by commercial media and proposed short-term affordability (that in the long run, is incalculably more expensive) or extravagant luxury... the need to curb and transform those habits, settle in to a more balanced healthy groove, get what you need, keep it simple yet inspired, modest yet fun, live lightly, support right livelihoods anywhere and everywhere, aim for quality vs. quantity, make long term sound investments in necessary items, take good care of your stuff, treat it well so it lasts as long as possible, pass it forward, use things wisely, is more than evident and is being practiced by more and more conscious earthians every day... clothing is a fundamental necessity, with food and shelter, and every little alternative to mass produced entropic output does make a difference

so ask yourself - what do i really need? what now qualifies as a necessity? what will i do with it when it wears out? how can i maximize quality, durability, functionality, and minimize the impact of actually getting what i need, by answering the need responsibly, and reciprocating / providing something in return, in a more transparent way


hemp / cannabis sativa :
a most ancient and futuristic plant life form - subject of much conspiracy, controversy, and confusion in recent times, it has played a critical role in human evolution and is presently in a wider scale of production and use than at any other point in human history, providing a totally viable holistic solution to many pressing planetary issues

strong, durable, and versatile - used for thousands of years throughout the world, and still today for food (seeds, oil, flour), fiber (cloth, rope, twine, paper), fuel (plant biomass, oil), healing and inspiration (flowers), and industry (insulation, building material, wood finish, composites) - amazingly fast and easy to grow, requiring no chemicals, little to no irrigation, adaptable to many climates and conditions... it improves rather than depleting the soil it is grown in, and in the realm of cloth, it produces 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax using the same amount of land - and after harvest of the raw hemp, other natural, low impact methods are used to process the fiber (such as separating the bark from the stalk and softening it for spinning)

hemp is extremely porous, allowing the fabric to absorb and retain dye exceptionally well (requiring less dye and less water than any other material, including cotton) - this porous nature allows hemp to 'breathe' staying cool in warm weather, and in cool weather the air trapped in the fibers is warmed by the body, making hemp garments naturally warm

hemp fabrics have a gorgeous natural texture and color that are unmatched by any other fiber - there is nothing like it - hemp fabric holds its shape well, stretching less than any other natural fabric - when dyed, garments can hold their color for many years, and even as it naturally fades with time and wear, the texture still looks beautiful... at the end of its life it can be re-used for household rags and finally cut into smaller pieces and tossed right into your home compost pile - making hemp a fully sustainable, biodegradable material... though it is not certified organic, hemp is grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers

* Hemp Husbandry
* National Hemp Association
* Hemp Industries Association
* Hemp Fact Sheet


cotton / gossypium:
the most commonly known and widely used natural fiber is cotton - from clothing to home furnishings, sheets, towels, and personal care products, its softness and versatility has become a daily part of life in one form or another

at this point, conventional cotton is usually grown from genetically modified seed, with damaging effects to the environment, wildlife and people, as 25% of the world's insecticide and 10% of the worlds pesticide goes to growing cotton (in 2003 alone, an estimated 55 million pounds of chemicals, considered some of the most toxic in the world, were sprayed on cotton crops - the health risks of pesticide exposure including birth defects, reproductive disorders and weakened immune systems - in many countries, cotton is still picked by hand, endangering workers - as well as local communities, as the chemicals spread into the water supply due to cotton requiring intensive irrigation, more than any other agricultural crop)... it takes one third of a pound of chemicals to produce a single non-organic cotton t-shirt - even before the fabric is dyed, printed on, or distributed

organic cotton is most often produced on small family farms who practice ethical, natural methods of cultivation, weed and pest control, and responsible irrigation - as the demand for organic cotton has risen, production has risen also, and with the devastating effects of conventional chemical-based farming becoming increasingly obvious, more farmers are taking an organic approach

* The Organic Cotton Initiative - FAQ's
* The Organic Cotton Difference
* Organic Cotton at Wikipedia

hand made hand dyed hemp and organic cotton clothing

100% hemp and organic cotton:
both hemp and organic cotton have a truly beautiful color and texture in their undyed state - these fabrics are semi-bleached for consistency with hydrogen peroxide (which is *far* gentler on the environment than the chlorine bleach used for conventional cotton), producing a beautiful light creamy color - they are easier to produce and require far less processing than other natural fibers such as flax, soy, bamboo, rayon, etc. - at present, hemp is produced in china and europe, in organic fair trade conditions that are highly beneficial to local communities, and due to the length of their experience with the fiber the fabric quality is superb... the return of growing hemp in the united states is well on its way, now being legal for industrial and recreational purposes in both colorado and washington state, with many other states right behind them... to be fully utilized here, as it once was, will bring a profound change by putting a highly valuable natural resource back in its proper place - and in the meantime, supporting eco-minded, socially responsible situations is wonderful... most of the fabrics i use are a blend of 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton - the cotton gives the hemp a softer feel and texture as well as making it more affordable, as 100% hemp fabric is up to four times more expensive (although its absolutely gorgeous, and i'll be adding 100% hemp clothes soon!)

xusah clothing is hand dyed with permanent low impact fiber reactive dyes which, while still being chemically based, actually *are* eco-friendly - they are not carcinogenic or toxic, don't contain mordants, and don't harm the environment when disposed of... because hemp and organic cotton absorbs dye so well, very little is left in the water - the dye forms a covalent bond with the cellulose molecule, so the dye molecule actually becomes a part of the cellulose fiber molecule making colors that won't run or fade

clothing with color, especially darker colors, can handle dirt and stains better than light natural fabric - allowing them to be worn for a longer time, both between washings and their overall lifespan - color that is permanent and doesn't fade means a garment gets dyed once and stays nice for the duration - only a small amount of fiber reactive dye is needed per garment, as well as a couple simple additives to 'fix' the dye - salt, soda ash (like washing soda in the grocery store), and a non-toxic, fragrance free detergent to rinse these and any unbound dye out after dyeing

while natural plant and insect dyes are truly beautiful and essentially more eco friendly, it requires a great deal more energy and resources to produce them, and a variety of sometimes toxic substances to 'fix' the dye, the colors will also fade quite a bit over a shorter period of time and most are *very* expensive... fiber reactive dyes, if used responsibly, are a low impact solution to coloring fabric and producing clothing that is long lasting, efficient, and beautiful... all fabrics are pre-washed in 100% biodegradable, natural, locally produced detergent, and are pre-shrunk - and i try to be as efficient as possible with water consumption when dyeing

clothes are sewn with organic cotton thread - empty spools are recycled back to the manufacturer and fabric scraps are used for smaller stuff, with the tiniest pieces being composted back into soil in our compost piles and recycled at a local fiber recycling center... clothing tags are made from organic cotton and hemp, and hang tags are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper (printed with vegetable based inks), and hemp twine... i use refillable ink pens for most writing, and recycled paper with recycled / recyclable envelopes are used for packaging as much as possible

these are garments you can wear for a long time, and when they wear out, you can cut them into rags to use around the house or outside, and finally, just snip the rags into smaller pieces and toss it into your (or someone else's) compost pile... most store bought clothing is made with polyester thread, because its much cheaper than using cotton thread - so if you compost it, the strands of synthetic fiber will still be there long after the natural fiber has decomposed

all garments are made with integrity, in a studio without pets, smoke, or synthetic fragrances

to explore the collection, visit the shop

clothing | art | studio | light | source