The most popular textiles, these days are made from; Cotton.. one of the biggest users of chemical fertilisers & pesticides in the horticulture/fibre industry.. in fact; the world ?
When once many of these products were made from Hemp, until the ban on cannabis/marihuana. Most people (thanks to Mr Herer etc.) now know that the original ‘Levis blue jeans’ were in fact made from hemp, (for farm workers & miners etc.) rather than the current cotton ones. The patch on the back of the jeans.. even today; still show the two horses, who could not pull them apart. This maybe true of the original hemp version, but I doubt it of the cotton ones.
Hemp is reportedly, amongst the top 2-3 STRONGEST plant-based fibres (known for 1000s of years), also alongside flax & jute etc. But hemp is also more rot resistant to sea water. It was used in huge quantities to rig sailing ships, with their sails & ropes. Most are now made from synthetics eg. Nylon (from petro-chemicals)
The issue around hemp, (beside cannabis prohibition) is that it was fairly labour intensive, to turn the stems into usual fibre strands. BUT a machine was invented in early 20th century, that according to the ‘Popular Mechanics’ magazine was set to make Hemp the next ‘billion dollar crop’ (1938) but the ‘marihuana tax act 1937’ Soon, put a halt to that idea.
This was brought to light, by the sudden, temporary repeal during WW2 when the burgeoning synthetic industry was ‘bolstered’ by a huge planting of HEMP, to make parachutes, uniforms, backpacks, ropes etc. etc. Mr Herer highlights it in his book. He even points to the fact that the USA ‘library of congress’ tried to deny the existence of the ‘Instructional video’ made to instruct farmers & others in the industry about the plant: “HEMP FOR VICTORY”
So we could have a much more diverse textile industry.. but the petro-chemical industry are pouring HEAPS into the cotton business.
I watched a TV news item once, when they mentioned that many place names in USA & Europe are named as places where the Hemp grew freely; Hemp valley, Hempstead, Hemp Hill.. even Hampstead heath etc. There are places in the world where Hemp is still grown for textile fibre; eg Eastern Europe, Russia & China. BUT in the west, it is still being seen as ‘cannabis/marihuana’ & being grown ‘in secret locations’