Environmentally Friendly Hemp Streetwear

Cotton is everywhere. Odds are, something you’re wearing right now is made with cotton. After researching alternatives to cotton, however, University of Utah student entrepreneur Eliasib Paredes wanted to use a recently legalized and more environmentally friendly material to produce fashionable streetwear: hemp.

Hemp? People often ask Paredes, is that the same as marijuana? Not exactly; it’s a cousin to the plant people smoke, with a much lower concentration of the THC compounds that give marijuana its potency. Still, hemp was approved for industrial farming in the U.S. only in 2018 and has yet to become the staple that cotton has become over the last couple of centuries.

Paredes saw this as an opportunity: hemp is grown faster, is better for the land it’s grown on, and can even reduce body odor and moderate body temperature when worn as a garment. Unfortunately, consumers looking for hemp are still very limited in their options. “When I was starting out, I searched up some hemp clothing brands and saw they were somewhat bland, with small, simple designs, whereas all the cotton brands have insane graphics, embroidery, everything you could want,” Paredes said.

He launched his company, Organic Vestitus, to provide this more sustainable and comfortable material with the striking designs that aren’t available elsewhere.

Paredes is a political science student at the University of Utah, where he has received both inspiration and funding for his venture. He has since used that funding to purchase his first round of inventory — a shipment of sweatshirts — which he then sold and gathered feedback for his next round of product.

“The next step for me is to branch out and order more product in different colors and then transition to organic ink graphics so that every piece of the product is organic,” Paredes said. “In the future, I’d love to design and create this clothing independently.”

More articles like this in ‘Student Innovation @ the U!’

Find this article and a lot more in the 2023 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.

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About the Author:

James Linton James is an undergraduate business student at the University of Utah and director of the university’s Entrepreneur Club. He loves skiing, climbing, and “the entrepreneur vibes.” See some of his current entrepreneurial pursuits on LinkedIn.

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