Ethical, Vegan, Slow, Organic, Fair-trade, Recyled, Repurposed – these terms are thrown around a LOT in the Ethical Fashion space. Lets break down the jargon.
The crop the garment is made from, is grown without the use of genetically modified seeds, artificial fertilisers and chemical pesticides. In garments, the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification is usually the Gold standard when it comes to Organic.
Now, we need to distinguish between ‘fair trade’ and Fairtrade. Fair trade in any kind of trade where both parties treat each other fairly, and/or the transaction is made keeping poverty alleviation and labour welfare in mind. So its a general umbrella term and doesn’t really have a concrete meaning.
‘Fairtrade’ however, is a certification issued by the organisation FairTrade International. To receive this certification, a textile or clothing brand must adhere to certain labour standards like worker safety, health, decent wage and working hours, labour empowerment programs and so forth. They also need to meet environmental standards like using safe, non toxic chemicals and minimising the negative health impact on labour. It also keeps Slave Labour and Child Labour in check
Eco Friendly Fashion –
This means that the garment was produced with minimal environmental impact. It means that the crop for the fibres was grown organically, that natural dyes were used to dye the fibres or the dye residue was safely processed. It also means that the garment was herbally washed and that the packaging was recycled or plastic free.
Vegan means that no animals or animal parts were used or harmed in any way in manufacturing the product. This means no leather, no fur, no wool, and no animal testing. We need to be wary though, because a pair of Vegan shoes or bag could actually be made from plastic derivatives like Polyurethane which will eventually harm everything and everybody.
Slow Fashion –
This is the opposite of Fast Fashion, which means you buy less, consume less, buy from brands that meet most of the above criterion, buy clothes that are durable, and timeless. So you’re not following any trends, and you’re taking good care of the clothes you own.
Capsule Wardrobe –
According to Wikipedia, “A capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.” This kind of ties into the slow fashion philosophy of owning only a few essential pieces.
Recycled Fashion –
Recycled means that the materials used are reproduced from an old product that was in the waste stream. For example making polyester leggings out of old plastic bottles.
Up-Cycled Fashion –
This means that the materials used are repurposed from an old product that was in the waste stream, for example; rubber shoe soles made out of old rubber tyres or a dress made from an old Sari. It may also be called Trashion – or Fashion made out of trash.
Sustainable Fashion/Ethical fashion –
These two are the most general and commonly used terms in this industry, so basically it covers the entire fashion supply chain from farming and labour standards to packaging and retail sales. If all or most of the criterion are met, you can call a product ‘Ethical’ or ‘Sustainable’.
I know its a lot to take in, but we have to focus on whats important to us. If you care more about labor, you’re better off buying Fair-trade certified, if you care about animal cruelty, you can go for vegan brands, and if you care about the environment , you look for Eco friendly or Organic. There are very few brands that meet all of the above standards, because frankly they’re very hard to meet, but there are brands out there. Visit Ecoholique on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on which brands meet what standards.
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