Hemp in Performance Gear

Hemp in Performance Gear Senior Design Team

Sponsor: The North Face

Team Members: Emily Benz, Erin Magee, Grace Davis, Maggie Riley

For this project, The North Face has tasked this team to design a fabric incorporating hemp fiber that can replace the fabric that is currently used in their Jester backpack. The motivation behind creating this new fabric has to do with creating a better environmental impact for the brand and their products. Although The North Face currently uses recycled polyester, which makes it more sustainable than non-recycled polyester, it is a synthetic fiber which is non-biodegradable. Hemp is a natural fiber which means that it is biodegradable and easily breaks down and disintegrates into the environment. The challenge associated with this project is having the new fabric meet all the same physical specifications as the current fabric, but incorporate a natural fiber. Research and benchmarking for the team involved testing the mechanical properties of hemp-incorporating fabrics currently on the market against the original TNF fabric. From there the team began applying their findings to create our prototypes. Our team created two intimately blended yarns both using hemp, one that is a hemp-cotton blend and one that is a hemp-polyester blend. These two yarns will then be used to create three different woven fabric constructions; a plain weave, a twill weave, and a ripstop weave. Each fabric will have a DWR finish with a polyurethane coating applied to the back of the fabric. The fabric prototypes will be evaluated on its strength and meeting The North Face specifications, the most promising prototype will be made into a sample backpack.