Camira Goes From Fabric To Farming To Secure Supply Of Bast Fiber

United Kingdom — August 2012 — Textile innovator Camira have stepped back into the supply chain to
work directly with farmers who grow the innovative raw material input for the company’s sustainable
bast fiber fabric Hemp. The fabric uses hemp cultivated as agricultural crops to provide 40% of the
fiber blend, the rest comes from wool.

Camira’s hemp is grown as agricultural crops under licence from the UK Government on farms in
England. This bast fibre plant – like nettles, flax and jute – contains naturally occurring textile
fibre just inside the outer bark to give the stem both strength and flexibility.

Hemp is sown from seed in the springtime and is one of the fastest growing biomasses known,
reaching over 10 feet in just 120 days, without the need for agro-chemicals. After harvesting, the
long stems are left in bundles on the field, while its leaves decompose and act as natural
fertiliser for the following year’s crop. A process called dew retting breaks down the fibres
inside the stalks, the stalks are then baled ready for final separation. Mechanical decortication
breaks the brittle, woody stems which gradually fall away from the lighter, flexible fibre. The
woody shive is used for bio-degradable animal bedding, while the textile fibre is blended with pure
new wool.

Camira plant 40lbs of hemp seed per acre. 1 acre produces 2.5 tonnes of hemp straw, yielding
1,000lbs of hemp fiber, which – in a 60% wool, 40% hemp blend – makes 2,500 yards of fabric. The
company currently has 12 acres under cultivation which should provide enough hemp to make 137,000
yards when blended with wool.

The wool hemp yarn is blended and spun locally near the Camira manufacturing facility in
England. The fabric is then woven on energy efficient high speed dobby looms. Finally the fabric is
piece-dyed in low liquor dye vessels using non-metallic dyestuffs and a natural water supply
flowing directly from local hills.

The combination of blending bast fiber with pure new wool, makes an inherently fire retardant
fabric without the requirement for FR chemicals, post treatments or backcoating. Providing enhanced
fire security for commercial interiors.

Soft to handle, naturally inspired and manufactured using locally grown materials, Hemp is
Camira’s most sustainable fabric ever.

Posted on August 14, 2012

Source: Camira Fabrics Ltd.