Textile and Fashion Glossary
When it comes to textiles, and fashion there have been a number of words and terms I've been learning on my journey to reduce textile waste and create a circular system. I have created a list full of Word's with their definitions and terms in the Industry that I think are important to share.
So let's get into it!
All items made intended to be worn
B Corp certification is an international, company level certification for businesses that meet standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
Bamboo Fiberis a regenerated cellulosic fiber produced from bamboo. Starchy pulp is produced from bamboo stems and leaves through a process of alkaline hydrolysis and multi-phase bleaching. Further chemical processes produce bamboo fiber.
also known as Musa fiber is one of the world's strongest natural fibers. Biodegradable, the natural fiber is made from the stem of the banana tree and is incredibly durable.
The fabric is called Modal and is the cellulose fiber extracted from beechwood. Modal is a type of rayon, a cellulose fiber made by spinning reconstituted cellulose, in this from beechwood. Modal is used alone or with other fibers (often cotton or spandex or Lycra) in clothing.
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.
the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes
are woven or knitted from yarns which have been made by blending two or more fibers together before they are spun into yarn.
a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by organizations or individuals. In fashion this could be the entire lifespan to a garment. From manufacturing, to transportation to ultimately, ending up in landfill.
Carbon neutral clothing means that it's produced by a brand that offsets its carbon emissions so as to balance them out. For example, this can involve supporting charities that plant trees, which then absorb CO2. Or in Our Case with Earth Warrior, by keeping textiles out of landfills and remaking them into new products we are able to keep Carbon Neutral.
Companies invest in “carbon offsets,” which are essentially projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere to offset the carbon emissions they are producing. It means companies are taking actions to offset the carbon emissions they are producing.
It is a process where the. chemical structure of the polymer is changed and converted into chemical building blocks including monomers that are then used again as a raw material in chemical processes.
an economic system based on the reuse and regeneration of materials or products, especially as a means of continuing production in a sustainable or environmentally friendly way.
ditches the linear “take-make-waste” model and instead asks the industry to close the loop on production, including responsible manufacturing, use, and end-of-life for every garment.
Closed Loop Recycling
is the process by which a product or material can be used and then turned into a new product (or converted back to raw material
allows a person to borrow clothes for a fixed amount of time, returning the items to the company once they've finished wearing them. Historically, people used early fashion rental companies to rent high-end garments for special occasions, such as bridal dress hire or luxury designer clothes.
is a type of swap meet wherein participants exchange their valued but no longer used clothing for clothing they will use. Clothing swaps are considered not only a good way to refill one's wardrobe, but also are considered an act of environmentalism.
the buying practices driven by a commitment to making purchasing decisions that have a positive social, economic, and environmental impact.
is a resilient, natural, breathable material that is hypoallergenic and has a high friction resistance. Fabrics made from cork are crafted into various canvas-like textiles, which are used in fashion production, as well as upholstery and sports equipment balls.
Cost per wear is equal to the cost of the item divided by the number of times you wear it.
Cradle to Cradle
is a sustainable business strategy that mimics the regenerative cycle of nature in which waste is reused.
is a label for products or activities that do not harm or kill animals anywhere in the world
is leftovers—surplus from a fashion brand or textile mill's production process due to overproduction or quality issues.
Are countries that have a lower gross domestic product or emerging market.
is an article that is intended to only be worn once before being thrown away.
is a term used to describe a recycled product that is not as structurally strong as the original product made from virgin materials. A Downcycled material example would be turning garments or towels into Rags.
Contrary to what its name implies, dry cleaning involves washing clothes in a liquid solvent to remove stains. In about 85 percent of dry cleaning shops this solvent is perchloroethylene (or “perc”), a chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency considers both a health and environmental hazard.
It is the selling of goods at lower prices in foreign markets than in the home market. It might be done for some reasons: to carve out a market niche in an already competitive market; to drive out competitors in a “price war”; to retain market share and employees during slack periods by maintaining output; and to increase profits by increasing production volume. Therefore, domestic industry cannot compete with those goods.
Approach to designing products with special consideration for the environmental impacts of the product during its whole lifecycle. In a life cycle assessment, the life cycle of a product is usually divided into procurement, manufacture, use, and disposal.
Eco Friendly Fashion
is a social and cultural movement within the fashion and clothing industry that aims to lower the environmental impact of the industry both in production and consumption.
Wool that is from sheep that have not been exposed to chemicals like pesticides and are kept in humane and good farming conditions.
A low-impact dye is a dye that has been classified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (an international certification process) as eco-friendly. Generally, low impact dyes do not contain toxic chemicals or mordants (which fix the dye to the fabric), require less rinsing and have a high absorption rate in the fabric (~70%).
Environmentally friendly laundry
Simple acts that reduce the impact all those loads have on the environment, for example: wash your clothes with cold water, reduce the number of loads you do each week, upgrade to energy efficient washer and dryer, switch to natural detergents and stain removers, etc.
Possible adverse effects caused by a development, industrial, or infrastructural project or by the release of a substance in the environment.
The duty that a company has to operate in a way that protects the environment. In other words, refers to our responsibility to use natural resources carefully, minimize damage, and ensure these resources will be available for future generations.
fashion that aims to reduce the negative impact on people, animals and the planet
in clothing Fair Trade is apparel that has been produced based on ethical trade standards. The fair trade principles in fashion require producers and manufacturers to promote sustainable livelihoods and safe working conditions for farmers and workers.
are typically split into 4 season. Spring/summer, fall/winter, resort, and Pre-fall.
The supply of clothing based on lowest production cost and fastest production time often resulting in low-quality mass-produced apparel with short lifespans
Flax Fiber (Linen)
this is a natural plant fiber. It is a bast fiber which means it comes from the stem of the flax plant. This fiber is most commonly know as Linen.
Forest Stewardship Council is an international non for profit that promotes responsible management of the worlds forests via timber certifification.so in Fashion the FSC label identifies responsibly sourced forest products and can be applied to clothing, footwear, packaging and tags made from FSC Certified materials.
Global Organic Textile Standard. This Organic verification means that textiles and fabric are grown according to strict ecological and taxological guidelines - with out the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
the act of providing the public or investors with misleading or outright false information about the environmental impact of a companies products and operations.
Made by hand, as opposed to by mass production or using machinery.
A chemical that has properties with the potential to do harm to human or animal health, the environment, or capable of damaging property.
The hemp fiber is extracted from the stem to make textiles, rope, fiber board, and paper. The hemp grown for textiles do not have any THC.
The disposal of waste material by burying it, especially as a method of filling in and reclaiming excavated pits. Our overconsumption and fast fashion has brought about a massive rise in textile waste dumped in landfill sites. The average Canadian citizen throws away 80 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.
Limited edition collection
a collection that is made in limited numbers or for a limited time.
Clothing made in a local market. Buying locally made clothes is a way to make your shopping a bit greener, support local businesses, strengthen the economy at home, and build relationships within the community. It’s also a great way to find alternative, one-of-a-kind fashion, such as up-cycled or handmade items.
Steps through which raw materials are transformed into a final product. The manufacturing process begins with the creation of the materials from which the design is made. These materials are then modified through manufacturing processes to become the required part.
Styles that are produced in volume and widely sold at lower prices
is an essential step in the textile production process. It consists in finding the right fabrics for each model of a clothing collection by respecting different quality criteria.
is a synthetic fabric consisting of ultra-fine fibers. These fibers generally have diameters measuring less than 10 micrometers and have denier weights under 0.7 D. Comparatively, a single strand of silk is around 1 D, making microfiber one of the world's finest forms of textile fiber.
All about “less is more”. It is a type of style and growing fashion trend that focuses on the longevity of clothing and only keeping essential pieces. Minimalist fashion is characterized by simple, classic, and versatile items.
is a Swahili term, literally meaning "bundles", used to refer to plastic-wrapped packages of used clothing donated by people in wealthy countries.
Modern slavery is severe exploitation of other people for one’s own profit and benefit. According to “The conservation” the fashion industry is one of the five key industries implicating modern slavery in the form of forced labor, debt bondage/bonded labor, and child labor.
is a vegan-friendly material used as a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to animal leather. Mushroom leather is made from mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus.
are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources—roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood—and other biological sources such as fungi and lichens.
Fibers that come from a plant, animal or mineral source. They can be classified according to their origin. The vegetable, or cellulose-base class includes such important fibers as cotton, flax, and jute; the animal, or protein-base, fibers include wool, mohair, and silk; an important fiber in the mineral class is asbestos.
Manufacturing that is done overseas.
Buying goods from overseas producers, or contracting with foreign manufacturing plants.
is clothing produced from organic natural materials, such as cotton or wool, without the use of pesticides, fertilizers and genetic modification. This term is only used for the growing or raising of the textiles and does not include manufacturing processes.
the action of consuming something to excess.
Post Consumer Waste
is a type of waste produced by the end consumer of a material stream; that is where the waste-producing use did not involve the production of another product. So in fashion once a garment is thrown away by the purchaser it is considered as post consumer waste.
Pre- consumer waste
is the waste created in manufacturing processes before it makes it to the consumer.
are the unprocessed fibers and textiles that make up our products; the leather we use in our bags, the cotton and wool in our ready-to-wear, the gold and diamonds in our fine jewelry. High-quality raw materials are notoriously rare.
Pieces of clothes to wear now and forever. The reasoning? All the pieces should fit together in one closet you never feel the need to ditch or replace.
refers to clothing that has been previously owned. Whether it was bought last year or five years ago, it doesn't matter how old the item is or how many people have owned it beforehand.
A natural protein fiber produced by moths. Conventional methods can terminate the moth and cocoon in development; an alternative variation called ‘Ahimsa’ uses methods that do not harm the moth. Since it does not have the harsh dyes included in the conventional silk production method, it is also softer.
is the opposite of fast fashion and it refers to a fashion awareness and approach that takes into account the procedures and resources needed to create apparel. It promotes the purchase of higher-quality clothes that will last longer, as well as equitable treatment of people, animals, and the environment.
Soy fabrics are derived from the hulls of soybeans—a manufacturing byproduct. Soy fabrics can be blended or made entirely out of soy fibers. Soy clothing is largely biodegradable, so it has a minimal impact on environment and landfills. Although not as durable as cotton or hemp fabrics, soy clothing has a soft, elastic feel. Soy clothing is known as the vegetable cashmere for its light and silky sensation. Soy fabrics are moisture absorbent, anti-bacterial, and UV resistant.
refers to the process of tracing each step of the clothes manufacturing process, from sourcing of the raw materials, to the factories where those materials are made into garments; and the distribution network by which the clothes are delivered to consumers.
Manufactures facilities, usually in developing countries, that violate basic human rights making its employees work under harsh and often hazardous conditions, and pay only minimum or survival wages.
are made of synthetic materials, usually formed through chemical processes. The fibers are generally extracted during the chemical process using a spinneret, which is a device that takes polymers to form fibers.
These are large piles of textile waste. They can usually be found in developing countries.
is the process of recovering fiber, yarn, or fabric and reprocessing the material into new, useful products.
is a material that is deemed unusable for its original purpose by the owner. Textile waste can include fashion and textile industry waste, created during fiber, textile and clothing production, and consumer waste, created during consumer use and disposal.
a method that let the consumer know and learn all the path that a product has made to arrive to his hands. When we talk about garments we refer to all the necessary parts to create it: raw materials, fibers, components, etc...
is the public disclosure of information that enables people to hold decision-makers to account. For the fashion industry, it means sharing information about supply chains, business practices and their associated impacts on workers, communities and the environment.
is generally understood as a design-based circular fashion approach, where pre- or post-consumer textile waste material is repurposed to create new garments or items.
clothing, shoes, bags and other accessories that were made without using and harming animals. To be more specific: fashion items that do not contain any animal materials and for which no animal by-products were used during the entire production process
Garments that are at least 20 years old that have a recognizable look that communicates the style of an earlier decade. The key to this definition is that the garment is really 20+ years old rather than a newer reproduction of an older look. Thus, “vintage” as a concept is closely linked with authenticity.
Natural fiber that comes from the fleece of sheep.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
It is an international trade accord that reduces tariffs, quotas, and other trade barriers around the world. It is an agreement of over 150 countries that negotiates and enforces global trade rules. It is meant to liberalize trade and serve as an international trade court for the settlement of differences.
It is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. No trash is sent to landfills or incinerators. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.
Zero Waste Manufacturing
There is little to no waste in the production of the garment or item made.