The Mamoq Dictionary
Don’t know what GOTS stands for? Or Closed-Loop Production? When trying to shop more consciously, sometimes it can feel like you have to learn a whole new language! We’ve compiled this dictionary of ‘ethical fashion buzzwords’ to help. Happy Learning!
BAFTS (The British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers)
BAFTS (The British Association For Fair Trade Shops & Suppliers) is an association promoting sustainable and equitable economic growth of developing countries through Fair Trade campaigning and trade.
A semi-synthetic fibre made of cellulose from the bamboo plant.
A substance that can naturally break down and decompose (with the assistance of sunlight and living organisms such as bacteria). Biodegradable products help to fight landfill waste and environmental pollution.
The Blue Angel Standard is a German ecolabel signifying high environmental standards for product design.
The bluesign® System for sustainable textile production assesses the entire textile manufacturing chain -from raw materials to finishing- to assure consumers of safe and sustainable production.
Brand accountability refers to a brand’s involvement, knowledge, and responsibility with regards to the entire supply chain of production.
A capsule wardrobe is a small wardrobe consisting of a few key pieces that can easily be worn together to produce a number of different outfits.
The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of a particular activity. Increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is linked to climate change.
Care labels provide instructions on how to best care for your garment, helping to maximise its quality and longevity.
The circular economy approach advocates a transition away from the linear economy of: Make, Use, Dispose. Instead, circular economy suggests using recycled materials to create new products, and consistently cycling resources for as long as possible.
Closed-Loop production refers to a circular system of production where limited waste is created, and instead resources are fed back into the loop of production.
Collective Purchasing Power
Collective Buying Power refers to a group’s ability to influence companies and brands by withholding and giving support at a large scale.
A conscious consumer is someone who is aware of the environmental and social costs of production. Therefore, they may be more inclined to gather information and support brands who are in line with their values.
Cork is obtained by stripping the outer layer from the cork oak. This can be done every nine years and the cork oak lives for 300 years. Over 50% or the cork produced comes from Portugal and Spain. Cork is considered a sustainable material as the trees are not cut down in order to obtain this useful material.
Cradle to Cradle
Cradle to Cradle design aims to eliminate the concept of waste from design, and encourages products to be developed in closed-loop systems that use recycled materials in products that can be re-recycled after use.
Cruelty-free implies that a product, including all of its ingredients, has not been tested on animals at any stage of production. (Note: this is not the same as vegan, which means that the product doesn't contain any animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients.)
Cupro (also called Bemberg) is a type of rayon fabric. It is derived from what is left of the cotton plant when the longer fibres for cotton yarn have been extracted. Cupro is as soft as silk and as breathable as cotton.
Downcycling is the recycling of a material that results in a new, lower quality material.
Eco-friendly dyes do not have the harsh chemicals and toxins that are common in standard industry dyes. This includes natural dyes that are extracted from organic sources such as plants, and thus cause no environmental harm.
End of Roll
End of Roll refers to materials that were left over from previous production. By using these fabrics, brands can reduce the environmental cost of production and reduce cutting room floor waste.
Ethical Fashion is an extremely broad concept that is difficult to define. In essence, ethical fashion refers to fashion that is made under fair conditions and labour standards. It has also grown to encompass environmental objectives (such as materials used, CO2 emissions, and other environmental criteria). Lastly, ethical fashion requires ‘transparency of production’ so that we may see how brands produce, and evaluate their impact for ourselves.
Fairtrade / Fair Trade
Both Fairtrade and Fair Trade focus on sharing the benefits of global production with primary workers in the developing world. To achieve this they promote fair compensation and working conditions, and increased market access. ‘Fair Trade’ is authorised by the World Fair Trade Organization, ‘Fairtrade’ is the trademark of the Fairtrade Labelling Organization, while ‘fair trade’ simply refers to the principals.
Fashion Revolution is an social enterprise that aims to unite people and organizations to ‘work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced, and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way’. Fashion Revolution is behind the global ‘who made my clothes?’ campaign.
Fish leather is created using fish skins that are discarded by the fishing industry. Like other hides, they can be tanned to make a durable leather. At the moment fish leather is unable to be vegetable tanned, however the chrome-tanning process of fish leather requires far fewer chemicals than the process of tanning other mammal hides.
FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international non-profit promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC certification ensures sustainably-sourced wood.
GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)
GOTS is a leading textile processing standard for organic fibres. In order to be GOTS certified, the entire supply chain (from harvesting to manufacturing) must be verified as organic.
Greenwashing is a marketing ploy used by companies to appear sustainable, when in fact they are not.
The hemp plant is often referred to as one the most useful plants in the world as it can be used in a wide variety of products. Hemp fabric is similar to linen in appearance and extremely durable. Based on how hemp fabric is both grown and produced, it is considered a very sustainable material.
Unlike ‘minimum wage’ (the minimum amount companies are legally required to pay their workers), a ‘living wage’ is calculated to reflect the true cost of living in a particular region or country.
Lyocell is the generic name of semi-synthetic fibres (fibres made from cellulose from plants), that are produced in a closed looped system. This means that 99% of the solvent used during the chemically heavy viscose process is recovered and reused, making the production of lyocell fabrics more environmetally friendly than the production of rayons in general.
‘Made In’ labels indicate where products are made. However they are not globally standardised and often, only refer to the last step of manufacturing or assembling.
Modal® is a semi-synthetic fibre made from the cellulose of beech wood, and is the branded name by Lenzing. Modal® is made in an environmentally friendly closed looped-system. (See: lyocell)
Natural fibres are derived from nature with no or minor chemical changes. Examples include Cotton, Silk, Hemp, and Wool.
Oeko-tex is an international independent certification for textile products that guarantees that no harmful chemical residue is left in the final product. Oeko-tex and GOTS are the most commonly used third party certifications in the fashion industry.
Orange Fiber is a sustainable fabric created from citrus juice by-products.
Organic refers to the conditions in which the raw material was grown and harvested. Organic agriculture does not use toxic chemicals such as insecticides and pesticides, and generally supports practices that maintain biodiversity and eco-system health.
Peace silk, also called “Ahimsa” silk, is considered a cruelty-free method for obtaining the silk fibre. Instead of boiling the moth alive inside its cocoon, peace silk is made out of cocoons that are collected after the moth has naturally emerged (resulting in a shorter, less valuable filament).
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a well-respected animal rights group. They award trustworthy 'PETA- Approved Vegan' Certifications to brands that provide vegan offering, and sign PETA's statement of assurance.
Piñatex® is a natural, sustainably-sourced, cruelty-free textile made from pineapple leaf ﬁbre. The leaves are the by-product of the pineapple industry, and their use creates an additional income stream for farming communities.
Product Life Cycle
Product Lifecycle refers to the entire life of a product from raw materials, and production, to use and disposal.
A raw material is the unprocessed material that is used to make a particular product. For instance, petroleum is a raw material of polyester, while flax is the raw material used to make linen.
Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric derived from the cellulose found in plant materials (such as hard wood). Specific types of rayon include viscose, modal and lyocell. Each Rayon fibre undergoes different manufacturing processes and therefore has different properties and environmental impact.
Polyester is a synthetic, plastic-based fabric. Recycled polyester takes advantage of existing sources of plastic instead of raw materials. For instance, recycled polyester can be made from post-consumer waste materials such as old fishing nets or PET plastic bottles. This reduces dependency on raw materials, and helps to clean up existing plastic pollution.
Semi-synthetic fibres are fibres that are derived from natural resources, but require significant human intervention and process. For instance, cellulose fibres are semi-synthetic fibres as they are derived from plants, however, require chemical processing in order to be made into fabric. Examples include: Viscose, Bamboo, Tencel.
Small Scale Production
Small Scale Production, or small batch production, refers to companies that produce in small quantities or limited editions.
Almost like a charity blended with a business, a social enterprise is a for-profit company that reinvests its profits back into the business in order to fuel its social mission.
A supply chain is the whole network of different parties involved in creating a product. This includes where the materials are sourced, where all the separate components of the product are produced, where the entire product is assembled, stored, transported and so on.
Sustainable fashion broadly refers to the design, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of apparel with respect and consideration for the health and longevity of our natural environment, and the welfare of the animals and humans involved. It aims to limit the socio- environmental cost of fashion, while maximizing its lifetime value and positive impact.
Sustainable fashion is the idea of making the fashion industry stand for their social responsibilities and decreasing the impact on the environment.
Man-made fibres made with chemical synthesis that are not found in nature. Examples include: Polyester, Nylon, Acrylic.
Tanning is the process of preventing an animal hide from decomposing. Vegetable-tanning is the more environmentally friendly tanning option, using plant-based extracts for the tanning process instead of toxic chrome (chrome-tanning).
TENCEL® is the branded name of a cellulose fibre manufactured by Lenzing AG. Tencel is said to be one of the most eco-friendly cellulose fibre due to its closed loop production system.
Traceable refers to a company's ability to trace every step in its supply chain.
Trans-seasonal refers to materials and garments that can be worn in all four seasons. Trans-seasonal pieces are versitle, and valuable in a capsule wardobe.
In context of the fashion industry, transparency refers to a company’s ability to publicly share information regarding their supply chain. Transparency is key in maintaining accountability which is paramount to creating change in the industry.
Upcycling is a type of recycling which uses old materials to create a new product of greater value.
Vegan signifies that no animal products or by-products have been used at any stage of production.
Viscose is a semi-synthetic fibre derived from plant-based cellulose. Viscose often requires chemical-intensive processes to be transformed into fabric.
WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation) is a global network promoting fair trade standards for small producers in developing countries.
The Zero Waste philosophy refers to changing the way we produce and consume, in order to reduce or completely eliminate the waste we produce.