After decades promoting hemp in fashion, Bear Fiber stands poised to debut what it calls the first socks made from American hemp.
Bear Fiber—one of 13 startups to join Fashion For Good’s Accelerator Program in March—said it has been working with knitters at Catawba Valley Community College’s Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover, N.C., for more than a year to develop the “perfect” sustainable sock. The resulting product will debut this spring.
The brand’s upcoming socks are 21 percent hemp, 49 percent organic cotton, 26 percent recycled nylon and 4 percent spandex, according to the Bear website. Bear Fiber also touted a proprietary technology that it said conforms to the wearer’s feet and ensures the socks do not slouch or droop. Absent from the hemp footwear, it added, is “that irritating toe seam.”
Bear Fiber’s hemp crew socks are now available on its site for pre-sale, with fulfillment scheduled for the spring. The company offers black and white colorways.
Though it is only selling socks for now, Bear Fiber says its goal is to “grow the American hemp fiber industry by developing a commercially sustainable market to support farmers, processors, yarn spinners, textile manufacturers and the apparel industry right here in the U.S.A.”
After four years of state pilot programs, the United States legalized commercial hemp production with the 2018 Farm Bill. In the year following, hemp acreage reported to the USDA grew to 146,065, roughly 4.5 times where it stood in 2018. Other countries, like Pakistan, have also recently announced plans to allow the industrial production of hemp, boding well for further availability of the sustainable fiber.
Hemp fiber possesses a number of benefits for both consumers and businesses. It provides farmers a greater yield, reduces the amount of water needed to grow, offers the wearer UV protection and even possesses antimicrobial upsides.