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#EcoTuesday – Sustainable Fashion: What Do These Words Mean?

Rack of 5 dresses in the forest

As you browse the racks in the coming years, you will see more and more new phrases pop up on signs and labels. Some will be familiar, but you may not know what they mean in terms of the clothes themselves. All of these will have to do with the environmental effects that the garment has, either when it was made, or when you decide you’re over it.

So let’s take a quick dive and #levelup our sustainable fashion game knowledge.

  • Biodegradable – This refers to materials that can break down naturally without polluting. Think cotton, silk, help, and other natural fibers, and without crazy unnatural dyes.
  • Circular Fashion – The goal of circular fashion is to look at all phases of the product, from design to end use, and make sure it is not wasteful. A major goal is for items to be reused or repurposed and not disposed of.
  • Closed Loop – Clothing that is made from previously worn clothes. Shirts, pants, and other things can sometimes be broken down into their base materials and remade into new garments.
  • Cruelty Free – These items and the parts that make them have not been tested on animals, or sourced in a way that is harmful to the animal it came from. Leather and silk generally are not cruelty-free, while wool only sometimes is.
  • Fair Trade – From their webpage, “Products bearing these Marks meet the internationally agreed social, environmental and economic Fairtrade Standards.” Farmers are paid a fair share that allows them to create product sustainably. You’ve probably seen this all over the place, so here’s a breakdown video for you.
  • FSC Certified – These tree products come from sustainable, non-endangered locations. These forests are managed and curated.
  • Slow Fashion – This is being aware of what you need and only buying those things. It also involves buying quality things that will last longer, with the goal of not creating waste.
  • Tier 1 Factory – You know the tags that say “Made In XXX”? Well those aren’t always true. Some of those tags only refer to where the product was finished or distributed from, not where the majority of labor was done. In the US, we now have higher standards, so that if it says “Made In USA” then “all or virtually all” of the product was made in the US.
  • Vegan Fashion – No animals were involved at any point of the creation process. Different than Cruelty-Free, which still uses animals.

So that’s your primer on sustainable fashion terms. Are there any you want to share? Hit us up! We look forward to talking more about sustainable fashion very soon!


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