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Sustainability Glossary & Fabric Chart

  • updated 6 days ago

Eco-Conscious - a lifestyle word that refers to a business or person that is aware of the impact it has on its surrounding environment.

Sustainability - meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Composed of three pillars – economic, environmental, and social (profits, planet, and people).

Sustainable Apparel - refers to a more environmentally friendly approach to designing, manufacturing, and consuming clothes, making sure to cause little to no harm to the planet and do not use up all its natural resources.

Fast Fashion - used to describe clothes that are produced quickly and inexpensively to fit the latest trends. Fast Fashion brands are incredibly cheap and have been associated with overproduction, waste, deplorable working conditions, and terrible environmental impact.

Greenwashing - when a company gives a false impression that its products are more ethical and sustainable than they really are. Greenwashing is an increasing concern nowadays as companies are trying to benefit from the growing demand for eco-friendly and ethical clothes. Companies market "environmentally-friendly" initiatives, like using recycled packaging, becoming a paperless office or "conscious" collections, while not addressing critical environmental and labor issues.

Recycling - Recycling is the action of converting waste into something reusable. For example, some brands have turned plastic bottles into yarn to make fleece sweaters or coats.

Biodegradable - refers to the ability of things to get disintegrated (decomposed) by the action of micro-organisms such as bacteria or fungi biological (with or without oxygen) while getting assimilated into the natural environment. There is no ecological harm during the process.

Organic - Organic is a term we see a lot in the food industry, but which also applies to fashion. It refers to raw materials that are not genetically modified (GM) and have been grown without any chemical pesticides and insecticides. These chemicals can be harmful to the planet, the people that produce the plants and the consumer who wears the final product. As a result, organic materials, and especially organic cotton, are becoming popular. Several organizations, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) are helping consumers find certified organic items.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) - is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibers. This certification provides credible assurance of responsible manufacturing with the least chemical inputs.

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) - a global not-for-profit organization and the largest cotton sustainability program in the world. BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.

Polyester - a synthetic fabric that is usually derived from petroleum. Chemically, polyester is a polymer primarily composed of compounds within the ester functional group. Most synthetic and some plant-based polyester fibers are made from ethylene, which is a constituent of petroleum that can also be derived from other sources.

rPET - stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate which means the plastic is made of recycled plastic. rPET is created by recycling plastics that were previously used as packaging materials. The plastics are then mechanically broken down into tiny flakes and melted to be spun into yarn. Finally, the yarn is woven into recycled polyester fabric.

Hemp - Hemp fabric is made from the fibers in the herbaceous plant of the species cannabis sativa. It is a high-yield crop that produces significantly more fiber per acre than either cotton or flax. Hemp creates one of the most eco-friendly fabrics in the world.

Bamboo (Viscose/Rayon) Fabric - Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of bamboo grass. Bamboo rayon is made by dissolving pulp bamboo into its cellulose component and then spun into viscose fibers.

Bamboo Lyocell Fabric - Bamboo lyocell is the alternative way to produce bamboo rayon. The basic raw materials and process starts the same way – fiber from bamboo pulp. From there it diverges into how the bamboo is converted into a fiber. The lyocell process is more efficient and less wasteful because it is made with a closed loop production system.

Closed Loop Production System - Closed loop production processes are those that reuse material waste created during the production process for additional products, as well as use the recycled products to create new items. Under a closed-loop system, businesses reuse the same materials over and over again to create new products for purchase.

Triple Bottom Line - an accounting framework that incorporates three dimensions of performance: social, environmental, and financial.

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