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Ethical Fashion Terms Glossary

What does Ethical Fashion actually mean? What does Sustainable fashion mean? What does Circularity mean and how does it correspond to the fashion industry?

This Glossary answers these questions and gives you an insight into where they come from and how they are implemented into our core business objectives.


The word ethical means “morally right”. The term ethical fashion is related to the designing, producing and consuming clothes, but focuses on the social impact of the fashion industry. It includes a wide range of issues such as living wages, working conditions, health and safety, forced labour and child labour. Garment workers often make clothes under extreme working conditions. Ethical fashion brands are committed to pay their factory workers fairly and treat them with respect, and care.


Sustainable Fashion refers to an eco-friendly approach to designing, producing and consuming clothes that respect the planet by causing the smallest or no harm to the environment and using up less of the natural resources. Sustainable fashion practices also consist of recycling, extending the life of clothes and using recycled and natural materials.


Circular fashion refers to the approach of designing and producing clothes that can be repaired, reused, and eventually recycled or biodegrade at the end of their life. When the material that makes the product is biodegradable, any waste generated can be minimised.


Slow Fashion is the opposite of Fast Fashion. It refers to buying less, to slowing down our consumption of clothes and investing on items of quality that will last longer. Slow Fashion also focuses on developing one’s personal style rather than following trends.


Fast Fashion is derived from “Fast Food” and refers to the approach of designing, creating, and producing clothes quickly and cheaply to fit the seasonal trends directly inspired from the runway. Fast fashion brands are associated with overproduction, cheap prices, waste, poor working conditions, and negative environmental impact.


Greenwashing is when companies make false or misleading claims to emphasise their sustainability efforts without actually being committed. Companies could market supposedly “environmentally-friendly” initiatives, such as using recycled packaging, cutting down on paper or making “conscious” collections, while not addressing critical environmental and labour issues such as paying a fair wage to their whole supply chain.


Carbon Footprint refers to the amount of greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere as a result of direct or indirect human actions. In the fashion industry, this includes manufacturing processes, transport and purchases of items. Part of the objective of making Sustainable Fashion is to minimise the release of CO2 into the atmosphere to reduce our collective fashion carbon footprint.


Biodegradable means a product or item can break down naturally without harming the environment, such as releasing harmful substances into the earth or atmosphere. In the fashion industry, biodegradable often refers to non-synthetic fabrics such as organic cotton, silk, hemp and other fabrics without toxic dyes or harmful chemicals that won't harm the environment at the end of their life.


These terms are all related to ecology and refers to goods or services that have little or no negative impact on the environment. You can have a look at our blog to find out tips and resources on how to make your life greener.


Fair Trade refers to an organised social movement that promotes greater equity in international trade and sustainable and ethical manufacturing. Fair trade has principles such as fair payment and ensuring good working conditions. This results in many Fair Trade products being more expensive but the extra cost goes back to support the workers and countries of its origin.


Living wage refers to a fair salary or compensation that allows workers to meet their basic needs and live with dignity, not trapped in poverty. Please visit Living wage foundation, a company fighting for fair wages here.


Traceability refers to the ability of tracing every product component back through the supply chain until the raw material. Fashion revolution is a not-for-profit global movement with a focus on the need for greater transparency and traceability in the fashion supply chain.


Transparency refers to the practice of publicly sharing information about how, where and by whom a product was made. This does not mean the company is sustainable, but that they have been honest and transparent about what they do within their company.


Recycling refers to the action or process of converting waste into reusable material. For example, some brands have turned plastic bottles into yarn to make fleece sweaters, coats or our Lefrik bags.


Upcycling refers to the action or process of converting waste into something reusable, but of better quality. Upcycling has a lower environmental impact than recycling as it removes waste from the system. It also stimulates creativity and innovation. Our grandmothers used to be up-cyclers because they reused old items to make something new out of them, such as creating a dress out of a pair of curtains.


Zero Waste refers to a set of principles or mindset focused on preventing waste and encouraging the reuse of products, so that waste can ultimately be eliminated. The goal is to avoid having waste in landfills, incinerators or in the environment, such as the plastic that has ended up in our oceans. You can have a look at our zero-waste collection here.


Cruelty Free refers to animal welfare and whether any animals were hurt or harmed during the production of the garment. In fashion, it means that the material was derived from animals who were kept humanely, but on beauty products it means the finished product is not tested on animals. If you want a beauty product free of animal byproducts, you need to look for a vegan product.


Vegan Fashion refers to animal welfare and products which include no animal testing and no animal-derived fabrics such as leather, fur, or exotic skins. Vegan fashion also refers to the use of no woollen products. We carry a range of Vegan jumpers made from knitted Organic Cotton, we also stock woollen jumpers where the wool is derived from healthy, cared for sheep. Here there is a list of PETA-approved vegan brands.


Organic relates to raw materials that are not genetically modified and have no use of chemical fertilizer, pesticides, insecticides or other artificial chemicals on them. The use of chemicals is harmful to the planet, to the farmers and the consumers. In terms of clothing, we use the term Organic when talking about Organic Cotton and other natural fibres. Non-organic cotton and fibres can have devastating effects on the people who farm it and the surrounding water systems.