A new UK company is blowing away outdated ideas about women’s hemp fashion.

Putting aside the health benefits for a moment, how do you feel about clothes made from hemp? You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s an heavy, course material, mostly popular with hippy-types who favour function over fashion. While most hemp clothing companies trade in little more than simple t-shirts, Hemp Horizon offer a diverse range of items, featuring everything from tight-fitting high-necked dresses to more free-flowing outfits with elegant bows.

Hemp Horizon is redefining women's hemp fashion and spreading awareness about hemp's potential. (Photo: Hemp Horizon hemp culottes and hemp two-tone t-shirt)

Hemp Horizon is redefining women’s hemp fashion and spreading awareness about hemp’s potential. (Photo: Hemp Horizon hemp culottes and hemp two-tone t-shirt)

Their products blend hemp with other organic materials, demonstrating not only its versatility, but also how much hemp production has been refined over recent years.

“Hemp is very much misunderstood,” said Karen Kay, head designer at Hemp Horizon.

“Forty years ago the fabrics made from hemp were crude, and didn’t have the refinement that today’s mills can produce,” Kay told us. “Now, when blended with fine silks and other organic yarns, hemp is soft yet durable.”

Kay works closely with business partner Steve Esser, who looks after marketing. Zoey Kay models the products.

We spoke to Karen Kay about the values behind the brand, the development process, and why hemp is a perfect fit for the future of fashion.

A ‘REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT’ IN WOMEN’S HEMP FASHION & HEMP AWARENESS

“[Hemp’s] the perfect choice for high quality, comfortable garments that look great, feel good, and last for years,” Kay said.

This is the most remarkable aspect of Hemp Horizon’s products: the fabric used is light and silky, making for items that wouldn’t look out of place at a luxury high-street store. It’s a far cry from the rough, scratchy hemp-based clothes of yesteryear.

Zoey Kay models the Hemp Horizon hemp silk wrap shirt. Hemp Horizon creates comfortable, elegant women's hemp fashion, and is now expanding into menswear too.

Zoey Kay models the Hemp Horizon hemp silk wrap shirt. Hemp Horizon creates comfortable, elegant women’s hemp fashion, and is now expanding into menswear too. (Photo: Hemp Horizon)

The design philosophy is simple, Kay said. “High quality, flattering and comfortable with a unique design which is unmistakably Hemp Horizon.”

She continued, “Our tag-line is ‘Awareness Is Key,’ as we’d like to be a part of this revolutionary movement around this magnificent plant.”

Of course, the hemp world has its fair share of unscrupulous traders attempting to capitalise on its increased prominence in the mainstream media. Happily, Kay and Esser take an altogether more reputable approach.

“We searched the globe for mills that produce fine hemp-blended fabric, sourcing from China and the USA, and we’re now looking also to source from Eastern Europe to reduce our carbon footprint.”

These environmentally-conscious credentials play a major part in the forward-thinking philosophy that underpins Hemp Horizon.

“We hope that our customers will appreciate our endeavours and belief,” said Kay. “We are very aware of the eco-friendliness of hemp and the other organic fibre we use for our garments.”

HEMP HORIZON PART OF INCREASINGLY POPULAR UK HEMP INDUSTRY

Hemp is one of the most eco-friendly crops on the planet. It uses very few pesticides, and can often be grown almost anywhere. Hemp is ideal for a future in which sustainability becomes ever-more important.

“As well as being the base fibre for creating high quality fabrics it’s a high yielding plant with a very diverse range of uses,” agreed Kay.

Although CBD derived from hemp is becoming more popular in the UK, there is still a lack of understanding about hemp’s legal status.

“We’ve never had any legal issues,” Kay said. “But we have found that people need to be educated about the simple fact that hemp cannot get you high.”

As an independent business, Kay admits that getting things off the ground hasn’t been easy:

It’s been quite a long journey to get to this point, almost two years — designing the garments, creating templates for the patterns and investing in machinery, all to ensure we’re totally self sufficient. Our development journey has been challenging, and required a whole new learning curve. There have been delays along the way, mainly in terms of investment as this project has been totally self-funded.

For now, Hemp Horizon’s range is mostly focused on women’s clothes such as t-shirts, skirts, dresses and jackets. There are plans to expand.

“We’re planning to launch a more extensive range of men’s products in early 2019,” said Kay.

Currently this is limited to a smart herringbone design cap made from 100 percent hemp, and a pair of bamboo wood sunglasses.

Hemp Horizon has no plans to move into hemp-based health products, in part because of ongoing confusion between hemp and psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”).

“As the public become more aware of the differences then we can look to cross sell all the benefits.”

HEMP LEGALIZATION BRINGS A NEW ERA OF SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Hemp has been grown for centuries, used for everything from paper, rope to food and has a range of uses far beyond the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids.

With the prohibition era juddering to a halt across the Western world, we can look forward to more forward-thinking companies using hemp in increasingly impressive and sustainable ways. Fashion is just one industry to benefit, as both the public and government authorities realise just how useful this plant can be.

As for Hemp Horizon, the products speak for themselves. This boutique brand is a cut above the rest, not only with their stylish range of products, but in how they point toward a future where eco-friendly hemp becomes established as the most important crop on the planet. Like so many others, Kay believes hemp can be a key part of creating a more sustainable way of life.

“If everyone is thinking more consciously we can help contribute to the healing and sustainability of our planet for the future generations.”