Almost 2 years ago, we put together a brief guide to 10 common ethical fashion terms in addition to our guide to a more ethical closet. Our hope was to help those new to ethical fashion make sense of the mass of information out there and create an organized plan for evaluating their own shopping habits moving forward.
Today we’re exploring 8 more buzzwords and what exactly those words mean when it comes to ethical fashion.
- Greenwashing - A marketing technique in which a company attempts to frame their products as sustainable or eco-friendly when their actual practices are neither of those things. Example: A popular big box retailer comes out with a “sustainable” line. The sheer volume of production and low cost are indicative of immense use of resources and potential low wages for laborers.
- Circular Fashion - Circular fashion focuses on reusing the product (and any byproducts during production), extending longevity and eliminating waste.
- Traceability - The ability to trace an entire production line from beginning to end.
- Up-cycling - Using existing used materials for new products.
- Carbon neutral/carbon offsetting - The act of balancing out carbon emissions used to create and transport products. This term is frequently used in greenwashing campaigns to put emphasis on positive actions vs. harmful processes.
- Diversity/Inclusivity - Representation of diverse individuals along the entire chain of production - from production, to marketing and customer base, and even employment within the company.
- Biodegradable - Biodegradable materials can decompose in nature. In fashion this could mean products using materials like organic cotton, hemp, linen, coconut or vegetable skin. This can be another greenwashing technique in that biodegradable materials could release toxic chemicals while decomposing or affect the life of the product and result in necessity to produce even more.
- Cultural Appropriation - Adoption of a culture's traditional imagery or methods in a way that exploits and profits off of the culture without any reparation or benefit to the culture.
Better understanding terms and definitions can aid consumers in making thoughtful decisions and to know which questions to ask when the answers are not apparent. Are there any terms you see being used in ethical fashion that you're unsure about? Drop them below and we can chat more!
Erika, Brand Manager