Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Will people know if I am wearing hemp?

Answer:  No, you do not have to tell everyone, it’s not like being a vegan.


Question 2: Can I smoke hemp fabric?

Answer: Yes, yes you can, and you should video yourself doing it, and post it on YouTube.


 Question 3: What is the difference between a pair of jeans and Triodia Apparel's pants design?


It is Jacob Davis who is credited with inventing the jeans design in the USA in 1870.  The jeans design is a two-dimensional envelope with a front and back joined by side-seams.  

Davis's innovation was to use copper rivets to strengthen the points that are stressed and torn during manual labour.  He soon patented the copper rivet concept in a partnership deal with his fabric supplier Levi Strass, and they went into production together. 

The innovation in Triodia Apparel's pants is to remove the stress points from the design, so there are no restrictive pinch points that require rivets for reinforcement.  

Triodia Apparel designs are a three-dimensional form, more like a four sided box, as opposed to a two sided envelope  This includes a gusseted crutch, yoke and side panels.  The seam line placement is designed to flow with the body during movement.  It does not require spandex, being big or bulky.  

The principle of the range is for the human body shape in action, ease of movement, and function guiding form.  So the benefit of Triodia Apparel designing over traditional 1870's jeans, is to remove the pinch points and stress points that require rivets and are the cause restriction of movement during manual labour.


Question 4.: What if I don't want to wear any Triodia Apparel pants?  Can I just wear a robe, or no pants at all?


The String Revolution, which began some 70,000 years ago, includes the development of the basket, sling, net, snare, tether, leash, handles, fishing line, cordage, rope, thread and cloth etc, and this was a critical step in moving civilisation forward with technical innovation and labour-saving devices.  This long lineage extends all the way forward to the Jacquard loom in 1804 which represents a paradigm shift into automated mechanised textile production.

The horse was domesticated in Central Asia, and used as a draft animal from around 4000 B.C.E.  It was not until the invention of the 'bit' in the mouth, and the correct saddle position, that the horse became ride-able and controllable around 2000 B.C.E.

Once it had been trained with a ‘bit’ for directional control, the rider could equally guide the horse with knee control, which freed up his hands for using his bow and arrow, and hence the individual mounted archer was invented, and cooperative groups became cavalry.

This required a change in human behaviour from wearing robes, to adopting bifurcated leg wear to prevent the awkward chaffing from horse riding, and hence trousers or pants were invented. 

Nomadic horsemen from Central Asia began putting pressure onto the pre-unified Chinese states.  Those states that did not adopt cavalry and pants, or adopted them too slowly, lost to the states that did so early.  It became a process of cultural group selection throughout the world.

Hannibal used cavalry to great affect against the Romans, until the Romans adopted cavalry themselves.  When the Roman empire withdrew from Europe, the local warrior class, the mounted knights, ruled Europe and the wearing of pants was associated with high status males, and has remained in fashion throughout the post equestrian era, in much of the world.

Trousers in English and Pants American, are not a prized commodity in all parts of the world, like for these guy from the Omo Valley in Africa.  Its a warm place and they do not have a culture of horse riding, so there is absolutely no need to wear pants.  The one draw back of the their freedom is the lack of pockets for carrying cargo, such as money.  But these guys had it sorted though, as there is enough space under the top cover of the rifles to keep some coin, like a multi-purpose AK-man-bag.


Question 5: Why does hemp not need agricultural pesticides?

Answer: Hemp is vulnerable to various pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, nematodes and viruses, however the yield is rarely affected by disease, which means that hemp has never been dependent on pesticide.


Question 6:  How much water does it take to grow hemp?

Answer:  According to Wikipedia, the water requirement is 300-500 l/kg dry matter.  This is around 1/14th that of cotton, which takes between 7,000 and 29,000 l/kg.


Question 7: How much hemp can be harvested from one hectare?

Answer: Heaps more than either flax or cotton, and especially wool, which is a protein fibre.  Check out Kate Fletcher’s book Sustainable Fashion and Textiles from 2008.

Average fibre production (kg) per hectare

Cotton 300-1100

Flax 800-1150

Hemp 1200-2000

Wool 62


Question 8: Where is the oldest fabric in the world from?

Answer: A piece of 8000 year old hemp fabric found in Syria is thought to be the oldest in the world.

However, the String Revolution began some 70,000 years ago and used numerous fibres.  It is arguably more important than the stone tools, for which the Palaeolithic epoch is named after.  The very lack of remnants of the String Revolution is the perfect testimony to natural fibres ability to biodegrade, and this demonstrates a bright-spot for the future of mass consumerism on a planet that requires de-growth.


Question 9: Where does Triodia Apparel source it’s textiles from?

Answer: China.  China is probably the origin of hemp.  China has a recorded 6000 year continuous use of hemp.  China currently supplies 70% of the world’s hemp textiles. 


Question 10:  If hemp was so useful from the String Revolution through to now, why did it decline in world production in the 19th Century?

Answer:  There are a number of factors that lead to the decline of hemp production. 

1) It was always a pain in the ass to process, which included first retting, then breaking and scutching the stems to extract the fibre.  In the American records, the slaves use to complain about this work, while in England it was considered undesirable and unprofitable work in the areas where the law decree that a percentage of land must be in the cultivation of hemp to support the maritime industry.  Mechanised harvesting and processing was available in the USA between 1919 and 1950, but by then the industry had declined in size significantly, whilst the new synthetic textile industry was on the rise.

Lignin is a hard, woody biopolymer that makes up 8-10% of the dry weight of hemp fibre, and it is responsible for the rough, scratchy feel of traditional hemp fibre.  If the lignin is removed, the resulting fibre is much smoother and softer.  The historic inability to remove lignin from hemp without reducing its strength led to other crops being favoured over it.

Meanwhile, cotton was a relatively small crop in America, until Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793.  This technology greatly reduced the labour needed to extract cotton fibre from the seeds, and it allowed cotton farming to become a profitable industry for several reasons.

Cotton has short fibres and can be spun into finer and softer textiles than the hemp of the era, which was of great interest to the textiles industry.  Furthermore, spinning cotton was simpler than hemp, and a more easily scalable process, which was a financial incentive. 

Another financial incentive in America was that slave labour was legal until the American Civil War (1861-1865) .  The cotton gin technology had opened up a whole new resource to the British textile mills, and consequently the demand for slave labour in America increased greatly because harvesting the cotton by hand was a labour intensive process.  After the American Civil War, Britain looked to it’s colonial territories for cheaper labour resources.

2) In 1813 the first sea going steam ship made a passage from Leeds to Yarmouth.  This new technology spread rapidly and began a new era of trade globalisation, but also a steep decline in the demand for hemp for sails, cordage and rigging materials over the rest of the century.  The scale of this demise should not be underestimated, as sailing ships required new sets of sails and rigging every few years.

This decline in sailing ships directly affected the long established hemp paper industry, which relied on pulp being made from recycled hemp clothes, sails and rigging from the navy, and merchant navy sailing vessels.  In its place, paper manufacturers began to use wood pulp, following technological advancements in that industry sector in 1844.

3) Between 1920 and 1930 DuPont was developing petroleum synthetic textile science, inventing neoprene, polyester and nylon.  In the 1950’s DuPont invented Mylar, Dacron, Orlon and Lycra, as well as Tyvec, Nomex, Qiana, Corfam, and Corian in the 1960’s.


Question 11: How is hemp fibre processed today?

Answer: Contemporary harvesting is mechanised of course, but the breakthrough for hemp textiles was in the mid-1980’s when researchers developed a new technique to remove the lignin through enzymatic and microbial action.  The protein digesting enzyme protease is first applied to the hemp fibre, which reduces the nitrogen in the stems.  Then a species of fungus known as Bjerkandera is allowed to grow upon the fibres, where it consumes the lignin.  The fibres produced with this technique were far more versatile, and hemp began to be used in garment making once more.


Question 12:  Why are we not seeing more hemp products on the market in the 21st century?

Answer:  It seems to be because of a stigmatic name the United States of America adopted, which caused a historic anomaly in much of the western world from 1925 to the 1990’s, and even beyond. 

Hemp was one of the first plants to be cultivated, ever.  From the early 1600’s to the 1850’s it became the most widely grown commercial crop in the world, with great demand from the maritime industries for rope, sails and packaging etc.

After declining production in the 1800’s, Britain outlawed hemp in 1928 after the 1925 International Opium Convention (which is a interesting world story in itself).

The United States of America began using the word "Marijuana" in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, as a generic, foreign-sounding name for hemp. Marijuana is a Mexican-Spanish term for recreational cannabis use, possibly from Tijuana.

The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act lead to industrial hemp disappearing from the USA, as all strains of hemp were prevented from cultivation, and no sensible distinction was made between industrial, recreational, and medicinal cultivars and purposes.

Canada followed suit in 1938.

Australia followed suit in 1938, which is after 150 years of continuous commercial cultivation of hemp, since the First Fleet of Caucasian colonisation in 1788.  Joseph Banks had been the first seed supplier.

The USA had a brief but enthusiastic respite in cultivation during the Second World War, when hemp was able to help swing the victory towards the Allied campaign.

In the 1990’s Britain, Canada and some Australian states began to revise their legislations to permit hemp cultivation.

In 2000 hemp seed became available to Americans for human consumption.

Since 2002 hemp fibre has been used to make composite panels for the automobile industry.  Manufacturers include: Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Iveco, Lotus, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Saturn, Volkswagen and Volvo.

In 2008 the UK car manufacturer Lotus made an Eco Elise using hemp:

In 2017, South Australia was the last state in Australia to revise it’s hemp growing legislation.  Cultivar trials began in the following months.  Follow the progress with the Industrial Hemp Association of South Australia (IHASA).

In 2017, the Australian New Zealand Food Standard was amended to permit the sale of low THC hemp seed foods for human consumption, because it is a health food.

Here is a short video on The History of hemp



Question 13:  Why did Triodia Apparel choose industrial hemp as a resource for textiles?

Answer: The requirements for Triodia Apparel textiles are that they need to be natural, durable and wearable.  This can include cotton, linen, silk, wool etc. 

The advantage of hemp is that on the world resource scale, it has the greatest capacity for increased cultivation, with the least environmental damage. 

For example:

Hemp is not pesticide dependent, so it is a clean green resource, which provides us with a perfect opportunity to not use pesticide dependent and genetically modified species, or petroleum synthetic textiles;

Hemp does not deplete or degrade the soil, which is important because arable land is finite and precious, while consumer demand on natural resources is increasing exponentially with population expansion;

Hemp requires little water and fertiliser compared to other crops;

Hemp is a fast-renewable resource, with a high yield per hectare, and the percentage of the hemp plant that becomes fibre is higher than other natural fibres;

Hemp has a high tensile strength which means it makes strong durable fibre;

Hemp textiles offer high UV protection, which is handy because of ozone layer depletion;

Hemp textiles are breathable and excellent to wear;

Hemp textiles are biodegradable at the end of the product life cycle;

This combination makes hemp one of the least damaging natural resources for mass production and consumption, which is why Triodia Apparel chose it.

Check out this video on brands that are championing hemp as a sustainable resource for environmental solutions: 




Question 14:  What is organic cotton?

Answer:  Organic cotton comes from plants that are not genetically modified, and they are grown organically, which means without the use of synthetic agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizer. 

The organic cotton industry is growing at 50% per year due to consumer support for clean green products and brand leaders like Patagonia.

Here is a video on the pros and cons of different fibres for textiles: