Wonder Crop: Why WAMA Underwear Uses Hemp


This post was sponsored by WAMA Hemp Underwear and I received an item for review. Styling and research are my own.

I feel like I should start this post off with a disclaimer that I’m probably not your typical underwear model, nor do I have any desire to be. 

But I liked the idea of styling a pair of full coverage undies both for the challenge of getting over my modesty qualms and because underwear is one of the few garments that really does feel like a necessity. And since we’re likely to go through dozens if not hundreds of pairs in a lifetime, it’s one of the most important sustainable switches we can make.

In my Ethical Undies roundup, I mentioned (or rather implied) that I tend to prefer cotton thongs or full coverage boy shorts over other styles because the specific shape of my butt and hips makes bikini and “cheeky” panties ride up, causing discomfort and an awkward panty line. Under thinner and more form fitting clothing, I go for minimal coverage.

But with vintage denim, trousers, and bias-cut dresses, full coverage is where it’s at, which is why I am excited to introduce you to WAMA

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, WAMA released a limited collection of thoughtfully designed and produced underwear for men and women.

If there’s one thing that sets them apart from other underwear brands, it’s that WAMA makes their undies with hemp. 

An increasingly popular textile in the sustainability world, hemp is prized over more traditional fabrics like cotton because it is less resource intensive:

  • It takes half of the cropland to produce the same amount of finished fabric
  • It uses 1/3 to 1/2 of the water needed to grow cotton
  • It is pest resistant, requiring fewer pesticides
  • It causes less soil depletion
  • It is considered more durable and long-wearing than cotton
In addition to to its environmental benefits, hemp is naturally anti-microbial and breathable, making it perfect for underwear.

So why doesn’t everyone use hemp?

If you’ve been reading up on sustainable textiles, you probably know that hemp agriculture and production is restricted in the States due to its chemical and visual similarities to marijuana (they’re close relatives). Yes, you can get high on some forms of hemp, but it is possible to use only hemp containing very low amounts of THC, the chemical that makes your high, when growing it for textile production. 
The US is the largest consumer of hemp in its various forms, but almost all of those products are imported due to continued misconceptions and concerns propagated largely by lobbyists and lawmakers.

WAMA ethically produces their undies in a carefully managed, GOTS-certified (an organic textile certification) factory in China, a country where hemp is expertly cultivated for textile use. To ensure proper regulation, one WAMA team member is based in China so that they can access the factory whenever they need to.

About the Hemp Hipsters

WAMA’s Hemp Hipsters for women are made from a hemp/organic cotton/spandex blend. They have a soft, unstructured waistband and just enough structure at the legs to stay put without causing discomfort. The fabric is denser than a standard pair of underwear you might buy at a place like Victoria’s Secret or Target and feels almost like a thicker version of soft pima cotton. 
On my “pear shape,” these are a true low rise cut and still feel a bit “cheeky,” but they don’t create the loathed wedgie, which is basically a miracle for me. I plan to wear these under my vintage dresses for a bit more coverage in the wind. On someone with a smaller butt, these would likely work under form fitting clothing without creating too much VPL (visible panty line). Overall, I give these an A- for fit and an A+ for style and fabric quality. I’m wearing a Medium here and have 39″ hips.
I really do believe that as the sustainable fashion sector continues to grow, the US will reduce its restrictions on agricultural hemp and we’ll be on our way to creating a soft and sustainable hemp-topia. But it’s always good to have options like WAMA. 
Use code, STYLEWISE20, for 20% off your order through May 31st.

Shop WAMA here.

WAMA on Social Media: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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