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While fashion journalism’s quest for the perfect T-shirt can be a bit over-wrought (ahem, Hanes, people), the fact remains that comfortable, flattering, and — here’s the clincher — affordable tees aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. When you factor in sustainable sourcing and production, you’re left with precious few options.
Enter Jungmaven, a California-based hemp clothing brand launched in 2005. According to the company’s founder, Robert Jungmann, and a slew of other activitsts, the environmental benefits of industrial hemp are many: The crop uses 50% less water than cotton; its deep root structures improve soil health; and thanks to small amounts of THC in the plant, pesticides aren’t necessary for it to flourish (ever wonder why they call it weed?).
While the brand’s goal is sustainability first and fashion second, you’d never know it looking at their pieces. The 100% hemp dresses and tunics fit right into the minimalist moment that’s been such a thing for the past few years, and the unisex T-shirts — available in a range of weights and hemp/cotton blends — are spot on.
The extra-dense fiber produces a heavier weight and slightly slubby texture, which not only makes the tees extra-durable, but gives them a retro look and a fit that molds to your body.
A small subset of the fashion world has taken notice. Jungmaven has been popping up on the racks of some of the country’s best boutiques, from Seattle’s Prism to Minnesota’s Askov Finlayson to Voyager and Azalea in San Francisco. (I first encountered the tees at Ali Golden’s shop in Oakland, and started noticing them at all my favorite stores, including online shop Kindred Black, pretty soon after.)
As part of a campaign to legalize hemp farming in the US, Jungmann has made it his company’s mission to get everyone in a hemp T-shirt by 2020. Starting at just $36 and available in a range fall-friendly hues plus woven or hand-painted stripes, you might want to start stocking up now.