Source: Daily News Record, May 4, 1998 n53 p12(1). Author: S.Gray Maycumber Subjects: Plant fiber industry - Exhibitions

Full Text COPYRIGHT 1998 Capital Cities Media Inc. (SNIP)

Hemp Grows at IFFE, but Not in U.S.

Buyers got a look at the first American-made hemp fabrics at the International Fashion Fabrics Exhibition which ran for three days last week, and drew, according to show management, 12,200 visitors, up by 5 percent.

As is pretty well known now, the U.S. is the only country where hemp fiber can't be grown. It's part of the cannabis sativa family but offers no high, except by wearing it, producers say. So the fabrics were woven from Canitiva hemp fibers bought from farmer collectives in China and Poland by American Hemp Mills, a part of Hemp Textiles International of Bellingham, Wash. The fabrics, nine to 16 ounces, are in natural colors and also yarn-dyed. The president of American Hemp Mills, Yitzac Goldstein, thinks it is ironic that "you can import and process a crop that is illegal to grow." He would like to use U.S. hemp, if possible.

There were also other hemp fabrics at the show. Vigor Industril Corp. was showing fabrics from the Hemp Spinning & Weaving Test Base in China. Vicent Pan, president of Vigor, said its hemp fabrics would "dissipate sound waves and optical waves, and resist 95 percent of ultraviolet rays." Most applications for Vigor's hemp fabrics seemed to be industrial, but don't rule out apparel, especially UV-resistant golf outfits. Vigor is located in Union City, Calif.

IFFE is like no other fabric show in the world. There are exhibitors here that you are unlikely to see elsewhere, at least all under one roof. Along with the practical -- Asians trying to move basic fabric at very good prices, and new computer printing equipment -- are some rather unique exhibitors. Some of our favorites were: Go Bang Textiles; Dark Horse Trading; Lucky Textiles; Mother Plucker Feather Co.; Pristine Textile; Endless Ltd.; Fu Pont Enterprise; and the Moscow Chamber of Commerce.