Hemp Viscose vs. Raw Hemp

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Along our diligent process in constructing a basic lightweight t-shirt (to round out our nature-conscious underwear line--see below) using a natural and sustainable fiber such as hemp, we've sampled a variety of jersey fabric that we felt would make something that resembles a classic men's Fruit-of-a-Loom tee, but with a few tweaks: scoop-neck; relaxed fitting; & moisture wicking--which is a natural feature of organic fibers like hemp. 

After six long months into the process of material sampling, just when we thought we've tried all the hemp jersey (a type of weave often used to make tees) fabric from the limited hemp textile vendors around the world, we were then offered a different hemp jersey varietal that was claimed to be 100% hemp which really caught our attention.

Classic Hemp T-Shirts
classic heather grey fruit of a loom tee

This new fabric was everything we wanted it to be, ultra soft, lighter, consistent in its fiber thickness, stretchy & sturdy all-the-while being 100% hemp.  If this were to be genuine, it'd be quite revolutionary as most people know that 100% fibers aren't that soft nor stretchy.   However awesome it may seem, we were very skeptical thinking that the fabric had at least carried some form of elastic.  Also, it had this sheen that reminded us of Rayon, a synthetic version of silk that got many people in the textile world excited when it was first introduced some years ago. 

Due to this skepticism, we kept bugging our vendor for a certificate of authenticity to see if it's truly 100% hemp and after they handed it over, we were able to confirm our suspicions that it was indeed NOT the traditional raw hemp that we were used to.  Instead, it was a modified version of the hemp fiber labeled as VISCOSE HEMP, a process similar to how the aforementioned Rayon fibers had been created.   If you don't know what the viscose process is, a bit of research on Google will yield more than enough info.  After doing just that, this is our super simple interpretation of what Viscose Hemp, or Viscose Bamboo is.  (You can see below for an elaborate illustration of the VISCOSE process.)

Our explanation.  Take natural fibers that are coarse like hemp or bamboo, melt it down to a smooth gel-like liquid state using chemicals such as Sodium Hydroxide & Carbon Di-sulfate (both considered bad for the environment).  From here, it is squeezed through incredibly fine holes straight into a bath of water that instantly cools it solid.  This incredibly thin fiber is then be rolled in spools to be later used for its intended purposes such as thread & yarns which are used in the making of fabric. 

To visually understand this, process you can watch this short vintage video on how Viscose Wood (Rayon) is made.  The process in this video we believe is just like that of Viscose hemp and Viscose bamboo whereas the difference is simply wood as opposed to hemp or bamboo, that is being used as the sourced material. You can  CLICK HERE to watch it.

hemp viscose supporters

Jung Maven Hemp Viscose Tee.  Click image to visit their shop if you are looking for some viscose tees or more hemp tees in general!

More on Viscose Bamboo:  If you remember the early days of bamboo fibers when it was first introduced, like hemp, it didn't receive enough positive feedback to thrive for textile purposes because it wasn't soft enough.  Additionally, the fibers size & quality wasn't consistent enough to use in a controllable manner.  Shortly after being rejected as a superior textile fiber, it was then re-introduced in the form of Viscose which made it soft and consistent, hence beloved by so many in the textile industry... that is until people started realizing how harmful the Viscose process can be for the environment as well as the workplace where it is made.  


How is Viscose Hemp Made?

Synthetics in the form of fibers and other resources when made from toxic substances or using a toxic process, we believe to have a disharmonious vibrational energy that conflicts with our very own natural molecular vibration.  I'd like to describe this vibration as a frequency, a rhythm--beats per second if you will (hertz)--very similar in relation to that of other natural cycles in nature such as the orbiting frequencies of the planets' and stars or even the beating frequencies of our body's organs operating in concert with one another to complete its tasks.  With such disharmony, like in music, undesired dissonances occur that throws the concert, and in this case, our health, out of whack.

Fortunately, being that our bodies and nature at large are incredibly resilient, some consumption of it, be it by eating or clothing, can only do so much harm.  It is only when the majority of our food and clothes consumed unconsciously over a longer period of time that our body's system gets derailed enough to make a noticeable effect on our bodies and health; think cancer.

The Hemp Cooperative raw hemp tee.  U can click the above image to visit their site.

Anyhow, despite this Viscose Hemp not being fully natural, after testing the Viscose fibers with no noticeable adverse effects, we were very hopeful that Viscose Hemp could be that magical method that makes hemp textiles more dynamic and superior.  Likewise, the Viscose Bamboo yoga pants that Brittanny had purchased for me some years ago (from Rawganique.com) not only proved to be harmless to wear for my sensitive skin, instead, it was quite comfortable. 

Despite this favorable test, we cannot neglect the possible harmful effects that the chemicals--mentioned above--used in the Viscose process are known to have on the people and environment that produces them.  Additionally, natural fibers feel, smell, and look natural, which is something we prefer when ethically available.  For all those reasons, we're going to move forward with the design of our inaugural Hemp Basic Tee Shirt using a jersey fabric that is weaved from Hemp and Organic Cotton in its natural & raw form.

raw hemp fiber (non-viscose) t-shirt in the bahamas.
Our hemp shirt designed scoop/U-neck w/ a slightly wider body for a relaxed fit.


To test our Hemp Tee and help us with a product feedback, feel free to use the following coupon code during checkout: HempTeeFeedback15.  If you have any questions or useful content about the Viscose Hemp process that will enlighten us and our readers on this topic, please feel free to comment below.  

UPDATE: Since mid 2016, we completed the Hemp Undie Tee that we had been working on for a while to get the fit right for both genders. It's designed to be classic, yet with touches of modern. The neck is U-neck; the fabric is sturdy yet lightweight / airy; the shirt in color natural is un-dyed whereas the black color shirts are dyed in Los Angeles w/ a low impact dye that doesn't use harsh chemicals to bind the colors like normal synthetic dyes.  You can purchase them in the box above and be sure to size down one size for the ladies.


a Message from the authors @ iLoveBAD Organics:  With a desire to develop a balanced lifestyle, we had started ilovebad organics, a philosophy-based organic apparel company, to promote the many benefits of living a life in harmony with nature's law.  Along with consuming food and clothing made using clean ingredients, how we perceive the world also directly affects our emotional state and therefore livelihood; and so we care to continually learn and instill the values observed in nature (contrast: yin/yang) in all the things we do & make available for purchase.  Hopefully these products & values will help others like us seeking to evolve their consciousness so they can overcome certain self-imposed roadblocks to realize the life they didn't think was possible otherwise.  Had it not been for such philosophies, we surely wouldn't have thought the lives we're currently living a possibility just several years ago.  To view our limited but ever evolving collection of natural & organic apparel instilled with the aforementioned energies, click here.  =)

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  • oh wow, didn’t realize that’s what rayon was this whole time. definitely going to avoid that from now on. Do you guys offer a higher quantity pack orders for your shirt socks or shirts? like a 3 or 6 pack??

    Jared Thomas on
  • totally not into the viscose hemp shirt I had purchased not realizing it was made in the fashion you had mentioned above so thanks for that. Also, I love all that you guys are doing with your business and had just ordered some undies and tees to support! Janet

    Janet Oliver on
  • @Michael Christian. hi Michael, sorry for the slow response as we’re quite horrible with checking and responding to our blog comments, something we’re working to be more conscious of at the moment.

    Anyhow, I completely agree with you in regards to the touch, smell, and aesthetic of the natural fibers being more agreeable than the synthetic viscose alternative. As a natural fiber enthusiast, that’s my usual sentiment and I’ll always choose natural over synthetic when given the option. =) Thanks for your input, Michael.

    daniel on
  • Although I certainly support the ecological motivations described in this post, I prefer real hemp fiber in clothing over rayon or hemp viscose because of the feel. The synthetics feel sort of slimy to me. Also, they smell better when worn and they wear in more attractively.
    Michael Christian on
  • Hi Michael! Being that most things we make are done so supporting domestic businesses and higher quality, our cost makes it difficult for us to offer wholesale without overpricing our retailing customers. However, we are beginning to make a higher quantity of hemp socks that is allowing us to wholesale. If you’re interested, please reach out to us: Shop@ilovebad.com. Perhaps we can start there, maintain a working relationship and work towards putting ourselves in position to collaborate further. Looking forward to hear from you. Also, please share your store website if you have one so we can visit/shop/support. Thanks Michael! <3 daniel

    daniel on

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