Launched in 2005 while founder Robert Jungmann was living in the small surf town of Mal Pais in Costa Rica, the t-shirt company Jungmaven was inspired by the surf and skate era of the Seventies and Eighties. The brand captures "the feeling of being a skater kid," as Jungmann put it, while offering a touch of grown-up refinement. The other thing the brand offers? Some seriously tough threads. Jungmaven's shirts are nearly indestructible because they're made of hemp, marijuana's more industrious older brother.
"Industrial hemp is a plant that gives back more than most," says Jungmann. And he's right. Hemp processes four times as much carbon dioxide as most trees and requires very little water. Currently, Jungmaven uses a blend of hemp and organic cotton, which gives the shirts strength, body, and durability. The 100 percent hemp T-shirt Jungmann wears constantly will go on sale next year.
Jungmann is proud of being an early hemp adopter. He started his first hemp clothing brand, Manastash, when he was in college after hearing a professor speak about industrial hemp as an alternative to deforestation. "In the summers, my friends and I would jump in our Volkswagen bus and go on Hemp Tours," he remembers. "We would join every mountain-bike, climbing-, and kayak-event we could compete in while exhibiting our clothing." Dedicated to the cause for 20 years now, Jungmann points to new hemp homes and cars as evidence that the fiber's potential economic and environmental upsides are too big to ignore.
A few years ago, Jungmann started a "Hemp T-Shirt by 2020" campaign. Ever hopefulll , he plans to put eight billion people in a hemp T-shirt over the next six years. Whether or not the campaign succeeds based on its environmental merits may not matter because Jungmann's product is excellent. The made-in-L.A. tees don't shrink in the wash and are perfect as both undershirts and nicer-than-usual everyday tees. Having a few makes your wardrobe that much more sustainable. [$35; jungmaven.com]