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.

Bamboo Viscose

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.

Blue Angel

The Blue Angel Standard is a German ecolabel signifying high environmental standards for product design.

Bluesign® System

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

Brand accountability refers to a brand’s involvement, knowledge, and responsibility with regards to the entire supply chain of production.


Capsule Wardrobe

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.

Carbon Footprint

Carbon 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 Label

Care labels provide instructions on how to best care for your garment, helping to maximise its quality and longevity.

Circular Economy

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

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.

Concsious Consumer

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

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

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

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.

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.