Interview: Jungmaven

By Laura Cuellar

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Hemp is a natural fiber, it’s grown with low impact on the environment, it requires basically requires no irrigation, uses no pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMO seeds. It’s one of the most durable natural fibers on the planet and uses half the land, half the energy and less than 15% of the water that cotton does.

The Declaration of Independence was written on it. Benjamin Franklin used to grow it, and it was predicted in 1916, by the American government, that by 1940 all paper would be made from hemp and no more trees would need to be cut down. One acre of hemp yields as much paper as four acres of forest.

But alas, as of 1937, growing hemp in the US is illegal. This could be because of the pharmaceutical industry, the oil industry, the paper industry, there’s a few theories, but it’s illegal in the US. Elsewhere, however, hemp is readily available, and pioneers such as Robert Jungmann are ready and willing to put it to work.

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Robert Jungmann founder and creator of Jungmaven has been a leader in the hemp movement since the early 90’s. Thanks to his line of tees, tanks and dresses, looking good and being eco friendly has never been easier. We sat down with Robert to learn about the man with a plan of getting everyone in a hemp t-shirt by 2020.

How did Jungmaven start?
I was living on the beach in Costa Rica Surfing for 4 years and my old friends at Dice and Dice in Japan asked me to design a line. Jungmaven was born as a simple basic hemp tee shirt line from super chill Mal Pais, Costa Rica. Jungmaven means “new trend-setter”.

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How did Hemp 2020 come about and why?
In 2010 the economy was in shambles and I was doing a lot of soul searching while working from home in Santa Barbara. It was just me and my two dogs, no car, I was struggling to keep Jungmaven alive. I wanted to put a goal in front of me that seemed absurd and at the same time if accomplished would help change the world for the better. Getting everyone in a hemp tee by 2020 would mean a lot of carbon dioxide would be put back in the ground by growing more industrial hemp for shirts. This could mean that areas like Rainforest and Old Growth Forests that make oxygen and hold CO2 would not need to be cut down. Food could be grown where cotton is grown more trees and healthier food for everyone. That was the summer of 2010, I gave myself 10 years.

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What’s your creative process?
Enjoying my time, experiencing life, meeting new people and trying new things always inspires. I probably design most of Jungmaven while in LA traffic, running and hiking, doing monotonous tasks like the dishes, sweeping or working in the garden. Those zen moments when you let your imagination run wild are the times when everything becomes more clear … it’s when certain colors, patterns, textures all seem more relevant and vibrant. I just make things that I want to wear. That’s where the designs come from.

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Who is your ideal customer?
Everyone and anyone who wants to wear a hemp shirt.

Why do you think it’s important for consumers to question how and where their clothes were made?
Your skin is the largest organ of your body and wearing clothing that protects you from the elements is important. Knowing what your fabric is made of, who made it, why it even exists all should be questions asked. I’m a minimalist, the less I have the happier I am. My idea situation is to have only the best of a few things that I want and need often. So when I buy clothing I start with color, texture and touch, than I try on and if the fit is what I’m looking for, I check the labels and the story, ask questions about the people behind the brand and what’s the purpose of this (shirt, pants, bag, shoes etc) existing…. why should I buy this? if I really need it, I decide. Less is best.

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What’s the next step for Jungmaven?
More 100% hemp tees and an improved website.

Who in the public eye would you want to wear your gear?
I’d like to get President Obama in a Hemp Tee and would love his help with Hemp 2020 next year.

Get yourself in a hemp tee before 2020 by shopping Jungmaven right now.

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