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One of the main documents created during the Eco 92 climate conference in Rio de Janeiro. Based on this document signed by 170 countries, a global action plan for social and environmental sustainability was created, ultimately resulting in many local agendas all over the world. Many eco fashion initiatives have also been inspired by Agenda 21.

Agriculture is strongly intertwined with the world economy, livelihood of the world's poor and biodiversity conservation. Agriculture uses more than half of the Earth's habitable land, employs more than one billion people and produces goods worth one trillion dollars annually. It’s also the biggest user of water, accounting for almost 70% of global withdrawals, and up to 95% in developing countries (FAO, 2006). Furthermore, pesticide and fertilizer use on agricultural crops lead to widespread ecological degradation. Estimates indicate that up to 40,000 lives are lost around the world each year due to improper pesticide application and handling (WHO, 2002).

The pesticides used in farming, livestock breeding and domestic environments. Examples are insecticides, herbicides and pesticides. They may also be the toxic solvents, paints, lubricants and products for cleaning and disinfection. They cause a lot of damage, both to the environment and the health of animals and human beings. 

We use the general term ‘alternative materials’ on this website for all materials that cannot be placed (yet) underneath other headings. Examples are alternative glues and fabrics that come from unclear resources.

Animal fibers are largely those which cover mammals such as sheep, goats and rabbits with well-known examples such as alpaca, merino, wool, fur and mohair. One eco innovation in animal fiber is the production of cruel-free silk or peace silk.

Clothing that was produced before the 1920s.

Bamboo is the fastest growing wooden plant in the world; it grows in many different countries and climates. Its quick growth (up to 3-4 feet a day) and its resistance to bugs and sickness make it an ideal eco crop. However, there is a lot of debate on whether the processing of the bamboo plant into fabric is truly sustainable. Bamboo fabric is made of 100% bamboo pulp fiber. The fabric is naturally antibacterial and eco-friendly. It breathes easier, is cooler than cotton in warm weather and has been said to feel like a cross between cashmere and silk. 

Banana trees were widely used for making fabrics before cotton was affordable and readily available. Now “jusi” banana fabric is made in only a handful of places in Southeast Asia. The raw materials come from the stem that farmers leave in the garden after a banana harvest. The tree stalks and leaves are removed and processed into a pliable fibre. Different layers of the stem yield fibers for specific uses: the outer layer's fibers are generally used for tablecloths while the third layer makes the finest, silkiest fabric, suitable for kimonos and saris. Many Nepalese rugs are made from bleached and dried fibers of the banana plant that are hand-knotted into silk-like rugs.

Certification on this website is a process intended to determine if a fashion product meets minimum quality standards. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, or assessment done by a government body or private organization.

Color grown cotton contains no dyes but is grown in natural colors such as honey, red, purple and mocha. South American Natives were known to have used color grown cotton. In the past decade, these color grown cotton fibers have become available for textile manufacturing.

We use the concept ‘community based’ when referring to products that have been created in such a way as to support a specific community. The concept is often applied in relation to non-western countries where products are being made in and directly benefiting small communities, like villages or neighborhoods.

To dress is an everyday verb in our lives. But that simple verb can contribute to building a better society. By dressing with ecologically produced clothing and accessories you are taking action. We can generate a change in the world through the clothes that we wear. As consumers we should seek a balance between the satisfaction of wearing clothes, the preservation of the environment and social welfare. Everyday we can make a conscious choice of dressing up with clothes that flag a better world.

Cotton is one of agriculture's most water-intensive and pest-sensitive crops, often grown in semi-arid and water-scarce areas. It has been estimated to consume 11% of the world's pesticides (Kooistra, K.J., et. al. 2006). Its cultivation represents over 2.4% of global arable land, involving about 30 million farmers. Cotton is produced in approximately 90 countries worldwide, many of which are classified as developing countries. The economies of many developing countries and the livelihoods of millions of small farmers and their families are dependent on cotton production. The environmental and social impacts are therefore widespread and need to be addressed.

The first few harvests of organic cotton after the soil has been used in a conventional manner cannot be certified as organic. This is because of pesticides that still remain in the soil and the cotton plant. This particular harvest of cotton therefore is ‘cotton in the process of conversion’: the process of purifying soil and plants and moving from conventional towards sustainable agriculture.  

We refer to ‘craft’ when we talk about either the maintenance of traditional crafts in developing countries or the small scale, local production of products by craftspeople in industrialized countries.

Conventional silk is made by boiling the intact cocoons and thereby killing the silk worms after which the single silk strand is unwound onto reels. Peace silk allows the silkworm to emerge from their cocoons to live out their full life cycle. The silk is degummed and spun like other fiber, instead of being reeled. The resulting yarn is soft, fluffy, and light like a cloud.

We can also call it demi-couture or made to order. The classic example is the men’s suit that’s made by a tailor who takes body measurements and produces a suit unique to every customer.  The reason we consider it “eco” is that you get exactly what you want and therefore are more likely to love it longer.

This verb points to the creative process of altering a consumer product towards the personal taste of the individual. An example of customization or personalization is a dress that you buy in the store and alter yourself towards your taste or you have someone else alter it for you.

Design that has been created in an environmentally sound way.

A creative process of transforming the way we do things through the use of environmentally sound technologies. Ecologic: In Greek, Eco = home and logos (or logia) = study, or science. Ernst Haeckel, a disciple of Charles Darwin, created the word in 1866 to designate a new science that studies the relationships between living creatures and their environment ("the home they live in”).

The sum of plants and animals within a given territory in the context of their interaction with their environment. Examples of ecosystems are lakes, forests and deserts.

The environmental aspect specific to the fashion industry is the issue of organic crop growth, using non-toxic dyes and developing new, sustainable fabrics made, for example, out of recycled materials. 

A way of dealing with nature that includes the preservation, maintenance, sustainable use and the restoration and rehabilitation of the natural environment. Environmental conservation aims to provide the greatest benefit for the current generation while maintaining the potential to meet the needs of future generations.

According to the resolution of the National Council on the Environment, the environmental impact is the change of the physio-chemical and biological environment caused by any form of matter or energy resulting from human activities. These activities, directly or indirectly, affect the health, safety, and welfare of the population; social and economic activities; the aesthetic conditions and health of the environment; and quality of resources.

Direction of human activities aimed at sustainable development. To be effective, it must be included in the planning and management of the production of goods and services at all levels - local, regional, national and international, in public administration and business.

   This glossary is based on the work of Ecotece
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