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For Immediate Release
Monday, February 11, 2008

CONTACT: Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
tom@thehia.org

Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
adam@votehemp.com

Hemp Fabric Goes High Fashion
Top Couture Designers Use Hemp Eco-Fabrics for New York Fashion Week

NEW YORK, NY — Before the official opening of New York Fashion Week, on the evening of January 31 in the elegant sophistication of New York's Gotham Hall, two dozen internationally-recognized designers displayed their latest creations to a waiting high-powered audience at the Earth Pledge eco-fashion show FutureFashion. With fabric supplied by Hemp Industries Association (HIA) member EnviroTextiles, designers like Donatella Versace, Behnaz Sarafpour, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan International, Isabel Toledo and Doo.Ri wove their magic with everything from hemp/organic cotton jersey knits to hemp/silk charmeuse.

Hemp, long known as a sustainable, practical fabric to the eco-set, has found a new home with top couture designers – and they are taking hemp clothing from enviro-niche to the glamour and bright lights of the runway.

"We see 2008 as a breakthrough year for hemp fashion, thanks to more than a decade of work by members of the HIA," says Summer Star Haeske, Sales Manager for EnviroTextiles, LLC. "Hemp/silk shiny charmeuse, one of my favorite fabrics, has been the hit for top couture designers," adds Haeske.

Calvin Klein and Donatella Versace used hemp fabrics in some of their designs at the show as well. The FutureFashion collection will be on display from February 1 - 21 in the windows of Barneys New York at their flagship store on Madison Avenue and 61st Street. FutureFashion is an eco-conscious fashion event started in 2005 by Earth Pledge, a non-profit organization which promotes sustainable development and originated as a United Nations committee. The Earth Pledge event was sponsored by Barneys New York, Pure & Natural and Lexus Hybrid Living.

Numerous HIA members, such as Clothing Matters, Dash Hemp, EnviroTextiles, Hemp Elegance, Hemp Traders, Hempy's, Livity Outernational, Mountains of the Moon, Satori Movement, Sweetgrass and Two Jupiters, make a varied range of quality hemp clothing and textiles. For more information on the hemp products made and sold by HIA members, please see http://www.thehia.org/members_products.cfm.

The HIA estimates that the North American retail market for hemp textiles and fabrics exceeded $100 million in 2007 and is growing around 10% per year, about the same rate as the general hemp market. Hemp is better for the environment because it does not require pesticides and improves soil quality. Unfortunately, makers of hemp clothing must import their raw materials from overseas because U.S. farmers are not allowed to grow industrial hemp. The DEA wrongfully considers hemp to be a drug crop under their interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), even though drug varieties of Cannabis are significantly different from oilseed and fiber varieties (industrial hemp). The industrial varieties are low in THC and high in CBD, making them useless as a recreational drug.

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The mission of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is to represent the interests of the hemp industry and to encourage the research and development of new hemp products. More information about hemp's many uses and hemp legislation may be found at www.HempIndustries.org and www.VoteHemp.com. DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.

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