Robert Jungmann is on a quest to enlighten everyone’s perspective on a sustainable material that has the potential to restore balance to our world: hemp. He discovered as a student that “trees, cut to make paper and other products, take decades to grow back. Hemp regenerates in months, helps maintain clean water and air, anchors and aerates the soil, produces oxygen, and consumes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” Robert has created JUNGMAVEN to prove that what you wear can be stylish and sustainable at the same time. This month Parvati Magazine speaks to Jungmann about his mission to improve our planet’s health, one hemp tee at a time.
Parvati Magazine: What inspired you to build Jungmaven? Why did you decide to take this leap into clothing?
Robert Jungmann: I look at life as one giant canvas and I want to leave it more beautiful than when I arrived. Before starting Jungmaven, I had started the hemp clothing brand called Manastash. When I sold Manastash in 2005 I wanted to create a clothing line that made it easy to get everyone wearing hemp—a hemp tee seemed the best way—and Jungmaven was born. The reason I have worked primarily with hemp textiles for over 25 years is due to the fact that hemp has the ability to help human health and the health of our planet. It’s still pretty much illegal to grow or at best difficult to grow in the USA. Hopefully that will soon change.
PMAG: In 2010 you launched HEMP 2020, an initiative built on the hopes of getting everyone in a hemp t-shirt by 2020! Tell us a bit about this, and how hemp contributes to your sustainability ethos.
RJ: HEMP 2020 is something that everyone can get behind and believe in. The more hemp we wear, the more hemp gets planted in the ground and the more CO2 is absorbed. I support companies looking at how the choices they make today will affect the children of tomorrow. In 2010, “Everyone in a Hemp Tee by 2020” seemed absurd and that’s what I liked about it. But what’s more absurd is keeping hemp illegal to grow. Hemp 2020 isn’t about me or Jungmaven. It’s about helping you and everything on this planet. Hopefully by 2020 when you hear the word “t-shirt” you think HEMP before cotton. I would love for more people and brands to copy us and start using more hemp for textiles and less cotton.
PMAG: With clothing, there can be such a disconnect between consumers, the environment, and how products are created. How does Jungmaven connect people back to nature and have a positive impact on our planet?
RJ: At Jungmaven we work to bridge the consumer to the beautiful ancient hemp textiles that connect us all with nature. Our skin is the largest organ on our body. Hemp can help protect and care for it.
PMAG: Tell us about your collection with Moonshadow Goods. What drew you to this collaboration, and how does it harmonize with the values at the heart of Jungmaven?
RJ: Adriana at Moonshadow Goods had dyed a Jungmaven tee with her natural botanical dyes in a way I had never seen before, which is called bundle dyeing. Adriana had posted the photo on her IG page and I loved what I saw. A collaboration with Moonshadow felt like a natural fit—we both have a passion for naturally-dyed garments that are created with love and care.
PMAG: Since starting Jungmaven, have you noticed the sustainable clothing industry evolve?
RJ: Yes. Today sustainability is part of our culture’s ethos. At Jungmaven we try to come to every conversation with empathy, a sense of humor and an open mind. Fashion is art that shows the world who you are and where you are going. I have certainly seen an increase in the conversations around sustainability in apparel. Jungmaven approaches these conversations—whether online or in person—with a goal to learn, educate and make folks excited to come back for more. We’re not just selling tees. We’re trying to create cultural change, while looking and feeling good at the same time.
Rob built JUNGMAVEN on simplicity and sustainability. His hemp-based products arise from that ethos. In 2010, Rob launched HEMP 2020, a campaign to raise awareness around the positive environmental impacts of hemp farming. He sees hemp’s potential to mitigate climate change as one of the greatest opportunities of our generation.
Image credit: Joel Caldwell