Eco Fashion Glossary
I prepared a little Glossary to get familiar with terms very much used in the fashion & sustainability's discussion.
Eco Fashion or Sustainable Fashion: refers to a new approach to fashion that takes distance from what fashion has become in the last 30 years, as well discussed by Li Edelkoort in the famous talk on Anti fashion.
Eco Fashion doesn't just mean one single way to making new clothes, is a movement that strive to change the way people perceive and buy fashion.
The goal of eco fashion is to create a system in which the fashion industry is more environmental friendly and has a better social impact.
Sustainability: This term is used to refer to practices and products that have zero or at least good impact on the environment. The idea of sustainability in fashion is based on balancing what the environment offers and what the society is using to produce, maintain and destroy items.
Recycling: The process of converting waste into new material.
Upcycling: Is the next step of recycling. The idea is transforming waste or products no longer needed, in something new, with a better value and use.
Supply chain: Is the system of people, resources, industries, manufactures, distributors, etc that create a product and deliver it to the customer.
It's very much used in the discussion on eco fashion since (as narrated very well in the documentary The True Cost), fast fashion is based on a non transparent supply chain which most of times doesn't respect the basic right of its workers.
Transparency and Traceability: These are 2 similar but slightly different terms.
When used in the fashion conversation, they refer to companies that are open to show their supply chain - now I'm saying it simpler: when you buy a product from them, you know where it comes from.
Transparency refers more to the real cost of producing an item and traceability to the actual journey of a product, from production to consumer.
Now, a company can be transparent about its production cost but their product could be really not traceable, which is from my point of you, more important .
By knowing who's actually making what I purchase, I can understand how ethical or not a company is.
Everlane is an example of transparent company whose products are also traceable.
Fast fashion: The evil. Just kidding but I mean, that's what we are trying to change, no?
The fast fashion term comes from the analogy with fast food: the idea that you're craving something and you get it (and digest it) very fast.
As Livia Firth famous quote says "Fast Fashion is like fast food, after the sugar rush it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth".
Nowadays, it is considered fast fashion any company that massively (over)produces cheap clothes within an amount of 50 collections ca per year.
Slow fashion: Inspired by the food movement slow food, that promotes eating local food and buying from local production, slow fashion strives to fight the fast fashion system by small and transparent clothing production.
Slow fashion believes in low quantity of production, high quality and an ethical supply chain,
Circularity: This is more or less the solution for fashion (and many other things).
This term means that what it is produced doesn't end into landfill, doesn't get thrown away but instead enters in a circular economy. How? By being resold for instance in a second hand shop (oh hello, fashion shuk tlv!), by being upcycled, recycled, by being donated, recreated and so on.
Having a circular economy in the fashion system will decrease one of the biggest and most polluting issue of this industry: the waste that it creates.
Fashion revolution: it's a no profit organization, established after the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. In 2014 they launched the very famous campaign Who made my clothes which purpose is to make consumers aware of where their clothes come from.
They are a global movement so their platform is a great resource to get insights and informations regarding eco fashion initiatives around the world.
A great documentary to start your onboarding on eco fashion is: The True Cost.
It is also a good one to share with your skeptical friends or simply the ones who want to know more about this topic.