Though cotton has been the main fiber found in denim and T-shirts, Alkhemist by James Jeans is exploring another option: hemp. Using hemp as a sustainable alternative to create its Hemp Incorporated pieces, the fashion brand — which is a division under the Los Angeles-based licensed and certified cannabis cultivation facility Alkhemist — has created a debut collection that includes jeans, shorts, jackets, T-shirts, tank tops, cargo pants, and more.
Alkhemist pieces are currently available on the brand’s website and ranges from 56 USD to 320 USD.
Below, Alkhemist co-founder Conrad Yun discusses how Alkhemist got started, what customers can expect, and more.
Tell us about how you came up with the idea to create Alkhemist.
We were looking at using hemp as a source material for our apparel lines over the last few years. With the growing interest in hemp spurred by the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 in December last year, we felt the timing was right to launch our hemp incorporated apparel lines under the Alkhemist brand name. Under the Alkhemist brand, we are also creating other product lines that use all parts of the hemp plant, such as fashion jewelry and other consumer products made from hemp plastic and hemp paper derived from the stem of the plant as well as CBD infused edible products derived from the flower of the plant.
What have you discovered through the process of developing the hemp blend you use in your clothing?
We are making new discoveries on a regular basis since we first started looking at hemp-blended materials several years ago. We are encouraged that with the excitement around hemp since the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was passed in December 2018, more suppliers are looking to develop higher quality hemp blended materials for use in the fashion industry as well as other industries. The technology continues to improve at a rapid pace.
How does using hemp in your clothing differ from traditional cotton and other areas of traditional clothing?
In many ways, we are hearkening back to 300 years of traditions in our country. Hemp had been an important source material for everyday items such as clothing, paper, rope, and lamp oil since the founding of our country. What makes hemp exciting now is that with the liberalization of hemp and CBD in 2018 and the rapidly changing attitudes toward cannabis (which, taxonomically speaking, is the same plant as hemp), people are becoming more intrigued by what hemp can do for the apparel industry as well as for many other industries such as agriculture, health & wellness, and construction, to name a few.
Right now, Alkhemist only offers women’s clothing, which ranges from denim to cotton shirts and loungewear — do you have any plans on expanding?
Yes, we will be expanding into additional “hempleisure” products using a variety of blended materials, as well as a line of men’s clothing.
What can people expect when trying Alkhemist pieces for the first time?
Our customers can expect the same great fit, quality and style that has kept people coming back to buy James Jeans products for the last 15 years. All of the Alkhemist hemp incorporated pieces essentially have the same texture and feel as the cotton products but offer much improved durability, anti-microbial properties and other eco-friendly benefits of hemp.
Images: Courtesy of Alkhemist