Levi Strauss develops 'cottonised hemp' denim blend - Just Style
Join Our Newsletter - Get important industry news and analysis sent to your inbox – sign up to our e-Newsletter here

Levi Strauss develops ‘cottonised hemp’ denim blend

By Georges Corbineau 08 Mar 2019

Levi Strauss develops ‘cottonised hemp’ denim blend

Jean-maker Levi Strauss as rolled out its latest capsule collection of responsibly made products, this time featuring a  new form of “cottonised hemp” denim, marking another step forward in its quest to create a more sustainable denim industry.

Utilising Levi’s Wellthread approach – which works to produce denim more sustainably – and collection partner Outerknown’s sustainable design ethos, the spring/summer collection features the new denim blend which is made with hemp that has been altered to feel just like cotton.

The hemp was sourced from a rain-fed hemp crop and thereby reduced the water used in fibre cultivation by roughly 30% says the company. But despite the environmental benefits, the coarse feel of hemp has prevented it from being widely adopted in the apparel industry.

Now, however, the US jean giant is employing a process developed by fibre technology specialists that softens the hemp, giving it a look and feel that is almost indistinguishable from cotton.

“We know hemp is good for the environment, but it has always felt coarse,” says Paul Dillinger, VP of product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co. “This is the first time we’ve been able to offer consumers a cottonised hemp product that feels just as good, if not better, than cotton.”

Garments in the collection include jeans and a trucker jacket made with a 70/30 cotton-to-cottonised hemp blend. The hemp was sourced from a rain-fed hemp crop and thereby reduced the water used in fibre cultivation by roughly 30%.

The collection also features single-fibre board shorts that are made with fully recyclable nylon and whose materials — the fabric, eyelets, core and stitching — are also made from nylon and can be recycled and re-made into other nylon garments.

The Levi’s Wellthread X Outerknown collection also includes a T-shirt made from recycled jeans and a western shirt made with a cotton/hemp blend.

Click here to read just-style’s recent interview with Michael Kobori, vice president of social and environmental sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co.