Destined to use Hemp

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You could say I was destined to work with hemp. I grew up hearing about times when my grandparents farmed this hardy crop back in Greece and Turkey. Though sustainability wasn’t a topic on the public radar in those days, people recognised the common-sense logic of growing a crop that required minimal assistance, and had little impact on their land. In those days they extracted the fibres within the stalks to use in their ropes and bags.  Their hemp plants were also used as a food source in times of extreme famine.

(Etiko's current Hemp Sneaker Design)

Understanding the potential of hemp plants, and knowing that those tiny seeds packed a nutritious punch for vegetarians and vegans, I imported 40 kilograms into Australia back in 2003. That decision landed me in some hot water with the Australian Federal Police who considered it their biggest haul of cannabis seed in the country’s history. I was never charged with anything since the seeds were sterilised and THC free, but that didn’t stop customs from destroying every one of those tiny seeds.

It was not until late 2017 that Australian lawmakers decided to legalise the growth and consumption of hemp seeds, bringing our national regulations in line with other countries like the UK, US, Canada and Germany, where hemp has been legal for many years.

(Etiko's current Hemp Sneaker Design)

While hemp often gets a bad rap because of its confusion with cannabis, it’s an organic farmers dream crop. Compared to cotton farming, hemp uses about half the amount of water, and its ability to create a natural pesticide means there is no need to use chemical-laden sprays. Hemp is also fast-growing, crowds-out weeds which might otherwise have required spraying with herbicides, and doesn’t leave the soil deprived of nutrients after each harvest.

The process of stripping fibres from the hemp stalk and transforming them into a textile is also much less water-intensive than cotton and can be achieved without the use of chemicals. This is probably why hemp was one of the first plants to be spun into a usable fibre about 10,000 years ago.

When Etiko was only a few years old, our first hemp product was born when we launched hemp sneakers as a fundraiser for the Australian Greens. And now, ten years on, we’re proud to launch our new design.

(Australian Greens Hemp Sneaker from 2007)

Each decision we make at Etiko comes with some serious consideration. We strive to do the best for all within our supply chains, while providing our customers with a product which is durable, comfortable, ethical, sustainable, affordable and also looks good. As a textile, hemp has some serious potential to do-good for the planet and those who farm and manufacture it. We’re setting our sights on turning hemp into a mainstream textile in the Australian and global fashion industries, and urge you to help us on this journey.

Shop your ethics, shop your values, shop environmentally friendly, and show the world that consumers are serious about supporting this sustainable textile and let’s get hemp into the forefront of fashion.

Let us know what you think of our new hemp sneakers below.

 

-Niko

Founder of Etiko

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Comments


  • Awesome Story we love hemp too! Your shoes can only start an evolution!

    Crazy, as we are growing hemp in the Byron Region! Come check us out and shoot with us! Buying shoes right now!

    It’s time for some social evolution!

    Smiles
    Maxine – Hemp Collective

    Maxine Shea on
  • Love that you’ve expanded to include such a useful and sensible resource. Would love to see hemp material start appearing as shirts and underwear soon!

    Out of interest, how does hemp compare in the sustainability stakes compared to bamboo?

    Love all the work Etiko does and thank you for it.

    Cheers,
    Kyle

    Kyle Chrystie on
  • Hemp backpacks ? Mine wore out (zip as usual) but no idea where to get new one.

    peter jones on

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