Clothes With A Conscience
  • Home/
  • Believe In Leaf: Ghaziabad-Based B'leaf Uses Hemp To Create Bags And Accessories

Believe In Leaf: Ghaziabad-Based B'leaf Uses Hemp To Create Bags And Accessories

Traditionally, hemp is used for producing an illegal drug called cannabis. But did you know, that hemp is known as the most sustainable crop on earth as it requires little water, replenishes soil nutrients, is biodegradable and easy to grow? In fact, hemp has a very long history of being used as fibre for clothing and to make ropes and sails. Today, brands the world over are breaking past the stigma traditionally associated with the plant, to harness the power of hemp for its many uses. Ghaziabad-based B'leaf is one such brand.

Founded by Divyanshu Kumar and Nikhil Asopa, B'leaf aims to instill mindful consumerism and conscious living in the hearts of people. They also hope to change mindsets in the process. For founders, there is a deeply personal story behind the birth of the brand. Taking us through the inception of the brand, Divyanshu Kumar, Co-founder and CEO of B'leaf said,

It all started in September 2019, when my father was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. The doctors told us that my father had just three months to live. We lost hope when we realised that we were running out of time. So, I started studying Ayurveda; I read about ancient Ayurveda. During my research, I learnt about a medicinal plant known as Vijaya in Sanskrit, and hemp in English. I read more about it and learned that it is one of the five most sacred herbs written about in the Athrva Veda. This means that hemp, or Vijaya, is one of the five most important medicines in the world. We were frustrated at being so helpless. Technology has come a long way. We have the latest cars and phones, but we aren't able to tackle health, which is the most important thing we have. This was my question about the system. And the answer I got led my friend Nikhil and I to embark on a journey that led to the birth of B'leaf.

The brand uses hemp in its various forms to create products that are both therapeutic and also sustainable. Talking to NDTV about the products, Divyanshu said,

The products that we launched initially were bags and hemp protein. Hemp protein was our first product. We call it hemp seed powder. These are hemp seeds, which are processed and crushed. It produces oil. Once the oil has been extracted, the cake that remains is where the hemp seed powder protein comes from. So, we thought that our products will show people that hemp isn't just used for smoking or intoxication. That's the limited and wrong usage of hemp and a stigma is associated with the plant in society. Through our products, we want to show people that the plant is wrongly thought of as just an intoxicant and that it can also be used to make bags, paper and clothes. People believe that seeds are also intoxicating, but that is not true. Even the seeds can be put to a variety of uses.

By demonstrating how versatile hemp is, Nikhil and Divyanshu want to change perceptions about the most misunderstood fibre. There is ancient knowledge and wisdom around the use of cannabis, which they want to revive with new and improved techniques. Nikhil Asopa, co-founder and COO of B'leaf said,

We want people to reimagine cannabis. 10 or 20 years from now when I say the word cannabis, there has to be an altogether different picture that pops up in your head, not just cannabis. That is because over the past 20 years we have just been inured to understand that cannabis is useless. While, in India, there is misinformation about cannabis, developed nations are making medicines out of it and they are curing cancer and epilepsy which have never been treated by any allopathic medicine. Our main aim is to help India to reimagine cannabis and revive this old ancient herb which is Vijaya.

In addition to manufacturing goods with the environment in mind, B'leaf understands the need for collective growth, and takes into account all those involved in the entire production process. Talking about the process, Nikhil said,

We tell our customers that when you buy a product from B'leaf for, let's say, Rs.1000, Rs.100 goes to the farmer of hemp, Rs.100 to the collector of hemp, who collects hemp from small areas, Rs.100 to the processor of hemp because three to four step process needs to be followed to convert raw material into fabric; then Rs. 100 each are given to stitcher, designer, planet and us. The remaining Rs. 200 are utilised to take forward our mission.

Hemp holds the potential to replace mainstream textile materials as a much more sustainable alternative. Can this fibre of the past, become the saviour of our future? Talking about the future of hemp, Divyanshu said,

Hemp is a plant as well as an entire industry and we need to realise its importance. It will heal the planet. The plant is a planet healer.

The ethical processes and conscious efforts of brands like B'leaf are major contributors to the country's steps towards a sustainable future but there is still a long way to go. We still need to switch to sustainable options and make lifestyle changes, in order to say no to environmental degradation and yes to protecting our planet.

Share this story on