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The word ‘ethical’ on this website comprises four characteristics, namely the environment, social values, transparency and the preservation of traditional handicraft techniques.

Fair trade promotes social equity, environmental protection and economic security through trade and awareness campaigns. Fair trade seeks means and opportunities to improve the conditions of life and work of producers, especially of small disadvantaged producers.

A term that usually applies to the style of the time, but sometimes also to a personal mode of expression. The concepts "fashionable" and "unfashionable" are employed to describe whether someone or something fits in with the current popular mode of expression. Fashion and ecology don’t seem to mix at first side, since fashion can be related to short-term trends and materialism. We use fashion as a positive synonym for glamour, beauty and style. This website is all about showing that fashion and ecology can be very strong partners.

Fish skin is regarded as industrial waste: after it’s separated from the filet for consumption, it normally gets thrown out. But now the skins are dried, bleached and eventually turned into leather. Fish skin is extremely versatile—it’s lightweight, warm, durable, thinner and softer (yet stronger!) than cow and goat skin. You’ll find it dyed in a spectrum of colours, and its natural texture and geometric patterns lend it a distinctive quality.

The plant from which cellulose linen fiber is obtained. Linen is used in apparel, accessories, draperies, upholstery, tablecloths, and towels.

The global ethical fashion movement is the collection of stakeholders in the fashion business that are taking the environment and social values into account. While doing this, they act and communicate in a transparent way.

GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. These are plants that have been manipulated by genetic engineering. The term "organic" excludes the use of GMO seeds in the farming process.

Green cotton is conventional cotton that has not been dyed or treated.

A long and very strong ‘base’ fiber, hemp fiber has been used for thousands of years to manufacture clothing. Its rapid growing qualities and resistance to most pests make it an ideal organic crop. Hemp has natural anti-mildew, UV protection and thermodynamic as well as hypoallergenic properties.

Created by the United Nations to measure the level of development of the countries, based on indicators of education (literacy rate and enrollment), income (GDP per capita) and longevity (expectation of life at birth).

Solid waste generated by industry. Depending on the industry, this waste contains materials that contaminate the soil, air and/or water.

Declared by the United Nations, the IYNF is expected to raise awareness and stimulate demand for natural fibers. Objectives are (1) encouragement of appropriate policy responses from governments to the problems faced by natural fiber industries (2) foster an effective and enduring international partnership among the various natural fiber industries and (3) promote the efficiency and sustainability of the natural fiber industries.

Series of environmental management standards developed in 1996 by the International Organization for Standardization, headquartered in Switzerland.

Jute is a bast fiber, chiefly from India, used primarily for gunny sacks, bags, cordage, and binding threads in carpets and rugs.

Kapok is a short, lightweight, cotton-like, vegetable fiber found in the seed pods of the Bombocaceae tree. Because of its brittle quality, it is generally not spun. However, its buoyancy and moisture resistance makes it ideal for use in cushions, mattresses and life jackets.

This important document was signed by the Commission of the United Nations for Climate Change in Kyoto (Japan) in 1997. The protocol aims at the stabilization of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It states that these emissions have to be reduced for most developed country targets. Between 2008 and 2012, these countries should reduce, on average, 5% of emissions of greenhouse gases in relation to the percentage recorded in 1990. The Kyoto protocol also gives guidelines to reach these targets, for example through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

There are different kinds of latex: 100% latex - same as latex.  All natural latex - some manufacturers and retailers use this term to describe the blended latex they use to confuse customers into believing that they are 100% natural.  Blended latex - also known as Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR). produced with petrochemicals and does not have the resilience properties that 100% natural latex has.  Latex - can be synthetic, blended synthetic, or 100% natural.  Natural latex - could mean blended latex or 100% natural. In Europe, anything that has at least 20% natural latex is considered natural.

Lenpur is a novel textile fiber from a renewable resource: cellulose carefully selected from the branches of special trees. The remarkable properties of wood provides textile materials made from Lenpur with extraordinary properties. The main differences in Lenpur compared to other cellulose fibers is its softness, its absorption capacity, its ability to release dampness (as a yarn or fabric), its deodorant properties, and its absorption characteristics (due to its morphology). When mixed with other fibers, Lenpur is in "mechanical synergy" with them.

Manufacturing (from Latin manu factura, "making by hand") is the use of tools and labor to make things for use or sale. The term may refer to a vast range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but here we use it in reference to the process of producing clothes out of fabrics, both on a big scale (mass production) as on a small scale (community based manufacturing).

Milk fiber goes back to World War I, when the Germans, interested in other sources for fabric, discovered milk's potential for cloth. To create the fiber, liquid milk is dried and its proteins extracted. The separated proteins are then dissolved in a chemical solution and placed into a machine that essentially whirls the fibers together. The fibers can then be spun into yarn and woven into fabric. Milk fabric holds dye, is breathable and it captures the moisture to make skin tender and smooth like after taking a milk bath. The drawback is that it wrinkles easily after washing and should be ironed. Machine washing is not recommended.

Mohair usually refers to a silk-like fabric or yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat. Mohair is one of the oldest textile fibers in use and it's both durable and resilient. It's notable for its high luster and sheen and is often used in fiber blends to add these qualities to a textile. Mohair takes dye exceptionally well and is comfortably warm as it has great insulating properties. It is durable, moisture-wicking, stretch and flame as well as crease resistant.

Pigments extracted and managed in an environmentally friendly way, without polluting the environment and ecosystem.

Also called natural yarns, they’re obtained directly from nature and are made into fabrics through mechanical processes of twisting, cleaning and finishing. They can be obtained from fruit, leaves, bark and wood. The main textile plants are: the Cotton crop, the Jute (to make ropes), Flax (stem with rigid filaments), Sisal and Rami (both similar to Flax).

The elements of the natural environment that human beings use to sustain life. Generally, natural resources are classified into two major groups: non-renewable sources (oil, coal and minerals) and renewable resources that are able to self-regenerate (flora, fauna, soil, water and air).

Nettle fabric is developed from the Brennessel plant and was very popular in the Middle-Ages when upper-class ladies preferred it over silk. This plant grows in almost all types of soils and it requires very little fertilization because the minerals are not leached out of the ground. Brennessel is naturally resistant to vermin and many parasites and can be grown without pesticides and herbicides. It can be more finely woven than cotton and can have the gloss of silk. The fiber is hollow and this makes it possible for nettle fabric to breathe and be insulating at the same time. Read more on this exciting fiber in our Magazine issue on fiber.

   This glossary is based on the work of Ecotece

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