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When a product is non-toxic, it has the least amount of toxic run-off into the environment: 5% compared to 50-60% in traditional dye methods for example. On this website, we often use the word non-toxic when talking about dyes, although it can also refer to other products.

A generic term for processes related to life. It can be associated with bodies and organs of a living being or with complex organizations outside the field of biology, where associations of people, rules or laws work and interact with each other as components of an organism.

An approach to agriculture that is based on the dynamics of nature. The ecological succession allows soil to restore its fertility because there are no pesticides and mineral fertilizers being used during the process. The criteria for sustainability guide the discussions on sustainable agriculture that guarantee the preservation of soil, water resources, wildlife and natural ecosystems, while ensuring the security of both food and clothing. 

Cotton grown free of toxic chemicals using biologically based and sustainable growing methods (such as crop rotation) rather than with highly synthetic and destructive fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or pesticides. Certified organic cotton must adhere to a strict set of guidelines based on the scientific method of organic agriculture.

Natural fibers grown without any pesticides and other toxic materials.

Consists of organic materials that go into the trash, such as leaves and twigs of plants or remains of food. Alternatively, it can be processed into natural fertilizer.

See cruelty-free silk.

PET fabric is made out of recycled plastic bottles blended with cotton. Thanks to technological innovation, the combination of these fibers enables the creation of a knitted fabric that has just the same resistance, durability and fast colors as products made with conventional polyester.

Pineapple fiber or Piņa is a strong white or creamy cobweb-like fiber drawn from tall leaves of an indigenous pineapple plant. The fiber is hand stripped from the leaves in lengths of about 18 inches to 3 feet, sun-bleached, hand knotted and spun. As piņa fiber recovery is only about 1%, it can take six months to gather enough fiber to produce two pounds of spun piņa. For more background info on fiber, read this blog.

Ramie is a bast fiber, similar to flax, taken from the stalk of a plant grown in China.

We use this word as an alternative to the word recycled. Often used in relation to fabrics, as new garments can be constructed from the cloth of old garments without going through an industrial transformation process.

A process whereby products that are considered junk or waste material are transformed into new products. Amongst others, it’s possible to recycle glass, plastics, paper, organic waste and old metals such as iron, copper and zinc.

The act of consuming products and services while taking into account the impact and consequences for the environment and the society at large.

Clothing manufactured from 1975 until the end of the 1980s. Clothing produced more recently is usually called modern or contemporary fashion.

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development organized in June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. The conference became known as Rio 92; it’s the conference where Agenda 21 was created.

See pineapple fiber.

A strong bast fiber that originates from the leaves of the Agave plant, which is found in the West Indies, Central America, and Africa.

The creation of opportunities for access to fundamental human rights (work, education, culture, recreation, health) for a marginalized population.

Referring to fair trade, which means paying all actors in the supply chain a fair price for their work. It also points to preserving traditional handicraft techniques that have been used to create fashion for many centuries and community development.  

An eco-friendly fabric made from a by-product of soybean oil production. It’s a sustainable textile fiber made from renewable and biodegradable resources. It’s part of an effort to move consumers away from petrochemical textile products and turn waste into useful products.

A recently re-discovered old fabric. Nettles were used to make textile until somewhere in the 19th century and it was mainly due to cotton that nettle cloth was forgotten. Nettle plants are resistant to disease and vermin and therefore don’t require any contaminating pesticides and herbicides. Only the fibers in the stems are used for making cloth; the leaves and the prickly needles that cause itching are not used for making clothing.

The system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. Supply chains within the fashion industry are often characterized by many different stakeholders who seek to maximize their short-term revenue. The global ethical fashion movement seeks to build new production networks based on trust and long-term relationships. Within these more sophisticated and transparent supply chain systems, used products may re-enter the supply chain at any point where residual value is recyclable.

A general strategy that integrates economic, political, environmental and cultural sustainability. Sustainability embraces the collective and the individual in order to reach and maintain the quality of life whether in times of scarcity or periods of abundance of resources. The aim of sustainability is the cooperation and solidarity between people and generations.

This specific type of management ensures the use of resources from forests without the threat of ecological, economical and social loss.

The use of natural renewable sources (such as the sun, wind or sugar cane) for the generation of energy. It includes systems such as rainwater collection and the re-use of grey waters.

   This glossary is based on the work of Ecotece

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