Regulation of Cannabis sativa L. in India is convoluted by the fact that there are two common varieties of the plant with dramatically different attributes: the agricultural hemp and its pharmacological cousin, marijuana. For centuries, its cultivation has been known for the minimal carbon footprint, requiring less pesticides during harvest season. As we embrace a future where eco-conscious consumerism is paramount, hemp has made it possible to turn out high-quality and durable products from textiles to construction materials, boasting of versatility which is not just an urban legend. In the fashion industry, the wonder fibre is yielding garments that are not only strong but also breathable and long lasting.
B Label, a forward-thinking homegrown brand has harnessed the power of hemp to design cruelty-free clothing and home decor fabrics. Grafted as an offshoot of the Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO), the first prototype was a classic white shirt until BOHECO shifted focus to nutrition and Ayurveda, letting B Label grow into an independent sartorial enterprise in 2017 under the creative direction of Alisha Sachdev.
Proudly espousing their brand values of transparency and accountability at boutique stores, on their e-commerce website and at exhibitions or pop-ups, the label caters to those who want to make environmentally responsible choices without breaking the bank.
From full-sleeve button downs to asymmetrical kurtas, loose fitting joggers to kimono sleeved kaftan dresses, their desaturated minimalist offerings prove that style and sustainability can coexist. A subsidiary which supports the Mandakini Women Weavers Co-operative in the Kedarnath valley of Uttarakhand, B Label Handlooms produces artisanal stoles using 100% hemp, organic cotton and lamb wool.
Seamlessly toeing the line between earthy and pastel, the dyes they use are also free of any carcinogenic azo compounds or nitrogen heavy chemicals. Their meticulous sourcing of coconut husk and mother-of-pearl buttons, adopting plastic free packaging manufactured from corn starch, and their dedication to keep consumers informed about the benefits of choosing hemp is testament to the 'all natural culture' pervading the production line from cradle-to-cradle. Not letting even their scraps go to waste, the up-cycled vestiges from the handlooms division end up as linings in their laptop sleeves or as headbands and scrunchies.
For those choosing to make the transition into hemp as their material of choice, here are some pro tips to make these outfits work for you:
1. Hemp can be harder to iron than cotton, sprinkling some water can help.
2. While it is ideal for any climate, owing to its moisture-wicking properties, this highly breathable fabric is a great match for the hot summers and monsoons of our country, eliminating sweat buildup. Furthermore, it is also known to be U.V. resistant and anti-bacterial in nature.
3. Some hemp garments may have a coarse texture initially, but this can be remedied easy enough with wear and washing.
In a world grappling with the challenges of climate change, B Label stands as a beacon of hope. Beyond their dedication to a non polluting ideology, the company places a strong emphasis on ethical treatment of their masters and tailors. Everyone involved in the creation of B Label products is paid fair wages and provided with safe working conditions.
This commitment to humane labour practices ensures that every B Label item you purchase supports not only the environment but also the livelihood of the people behind the brand.
You can access their complete line of products here.
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