The masterminds behind some of the most durable denim, longstanding technical textiles company Cordura is celebrating 10 years of denim with a new innovation that may have come at just the right time.
The Invista-owned fabric brand unveiled its first collection of hemp-blended denim fabrics developed in partnership with Pakistani denim mill Artistic Milliners. The line features 11-ounce and 12-ounce fabrics, each made with 20 percent France-sourced hemp. Artistic Milliners and Cordura worked together to develop the fabrics, which are being marketed across the mill’s customer base, from performance apparel brands to companies that have durability as part of their sustainability message.
Hemp denim is becoming increasingly attractive in the space, as legislation becomes more lenient and denim stalwarts make big investments in the fiber. The latest Levi’s Wellthread collection features denim with a 55 percent hemp composition, marking the highest hemp count in the brand’s history. Kontoor Brands, which owns Wrangler and Lee, also recently made an investment in the fiber. Last month, it expanded its collaboration with Dallas-based Panda Biotech, an emerging leader in the industrial hemp fiber industry. The partnership will bring traceability and scale to the textile-grade cottonized hemp grown and processed in the U.S.
The fiber is often touted for its regenerative properties—it absorbs more CO2 than any forest or commercial crop, and can break up compacted soil and remove contamination and heavy metals from the ground—and experts have been betting big on its inclusion in denim for years.
Aside from hemp’s environmental benefits, the hemp denim range underscores Cordura’s commitment to achieving sustainability through products that last. Cordura Denim is proven to be at least four times more durable than traditional 100 percent cotton fabrics, as it’s engineered from a blend of Invista’s military-grade T420 nylon-6,6 staple fiber and cotton.
Cindy McNaull, Cordura’s business development director, said hemp can transform Cordura Denim for the better.
“Hemp offers the benefits of enhanced abrasion resistance, tensile and tear strength—three qualities which align to the long-lasting performance platform of the Cordura brand,” she said. “We are excited to explore the aesthetic advantages and eco-efficient properties that hemp can bring to Cordura technology developments.”
Cordura has recently doubled down on providing products and services that facilitate customer needs. In January, the brand debuted the Cordura Fabric Finder, a digital fabric library of more than 500 fabrics that allows companies to view the assortment using a user-friendly digital interface. This year, Cordura is also partnering with Chinese mill Haining Jintai to introduce a jersey nylon and hemp knit, which boasts a crisp hand feel, enhanced durability and comfort performance.