Founded in 1995, The Hempest began as a small clothing boutique in Boston catering to enviros who wanted to wear organically harvested duds. Being on Newbury Street in Boston, surrounded by the big corporate retailers such as Armani, Gap, and Nike, provided Hempest with a challenge that also proved to be an advantage. This flagship basement store, that has a brightly hued garden growing at its entrance for half of the year, drew people with its ecclectic facade. For tourists who didn’t want to buy the same kitsch they could get anywhere, the store offered a refreshing alternative: clothing produced symbiotically with the earth. For locals who had been yearning for non-synthetics that were not put together in sweat shops in Asia, Hempest provided natural fabrics grown from beneficial plants that were ethically harvested and produced.
Over the past decade, The Hempest has spread from this successful store on Newbury Street to four other locations in Northampton (MA), Burlington (VT), Santa Barbara, and another in the Boston area as well as an online store. The original motivation for the store was to educate people on the benefits of growing and using hemp. As companies such as Of The Earth, moreTrees Clothing and Nibus began to make organic cotton and hemp clothing that people would actually want to wear, the store began to flourish.
I have searched high and low for the uber-hoodie and these guys have it. I recommend the Nibus Zip-Up pictured here (also available for men.) It is super soft, slightly structured, and sustainably crafted. What more could we ask from a hoodie? The hemp skirts and pants are also comfy, with that mid-weight linen feel.
Mitch Rosenfield, the founder of the store notes, “…we want people to relate to their purchases, to realize that they are helping to create the world they desire. If you buy plastic, there will be more plastic in the world. If you buy hemp, then people will grow it. Which future seems greener?”