Friday, August 08, 2008


In the August issue of Camelia Jilly Cholmondeley and her hemp bedsheets are featured. Gill Dexter writes about Jilly's interest in hemp which started when she was working in PR for environmental charities. Looking at the destruction of the Aral Sea, which came about as a result of cotton production, she realised we needed to start using a better textile. Dexter notes"...cotton is one of the thirstiest crops on the planet. - Unesco estimates that to produce enough cotton for an average t-shirt weighing 500g, 4,100 litres of water are required. Sadly, organic cotton, hailed by many as an ecologically sound alternative is even worse - the absence of pesticides means the yield is lower, so the water consumption for an organic t-shirt is higher still. Yet by contrast, the World Wildlife Fund say that a t-shirt produced using 55% hemp and 45 % cotton would use just 1,600 litres of water in its production."

The article then goes into the history of hemp and the reasons for hemp suppression, especially in the US where it is still illegal to grow. This means that the likes of Jilly Cholmondeley must source their hemp from China and Italy. She was able to find suppliers after visiting the Premiere Vision Textile Fair in Paris, where she met someone who supplied hemp to Giorgio Armani. Hemp's wicking and anti-microbial qualities were of interest to her, and the latter she had tested by the Jodrell laboratory at Kew Gardens, which confirmed that it did indeed contain anti-microbial qualities. On a tangential, more personal note, I have noticed over the years that hemp leaves left in water have not attracted the usual foetid smells that other leaves do, and that when moths attacked my rice and wheat flour, the hemp flour was untouched. This may not be a scientific conclusion, but it is worth noting and following up. Will do, one of these days...

But getting back to the article, and again on a personal note, I have had the pleasure of meeting Jilly and can see she is quite sincere and knowledgeable. She sells her wares on the net at and also in shops such as Eco, at 213 Chiswick High Street, W4 -

For other posts on this blog about Jilly Cholmondeley, Eco, or cotton, click on tags below

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