The relationship between minimalism and fashion is subjective. For me, it’s the focus on consuming less clothing whilst consuming better clothing. Of course, your definition of ‘better’ is going to be different to mine, but I focus on whether the brand is ethical and/or sustainable, as well as if it’s going to last for years aesthetically and practically.
In the minimalist fashion world - as well as in the conscious clothing industry - there are landfills’ worth of terms being thrown around interchangeably to the point where their original definitions are getting totally lost. And I felt lost, too - when I started out on my conscious closet journey ( lame word sorry ) I came across these words in every article, podcast, blog post, tweet, Instagram post, marketing campaign … the list goes on … but I had no idea what they meant.
So I decided to put together a glossary that talks through what so many eco-warriors are shouting about. I didn’t know what some of these meant until putting together this post - I hope you feel a bit more in the loop after reading it, too.
the first step to changing the fashion industry is getting everyone on the same page - not using fancy words to sound like we’re doing more than we actually are.
I’ll update this page continuously to keep you in the ( circular fashion ) loop and add it as an option on a drop-down menu for the ‘conscious fashion’ category of my blog.
If there’s a particular definition that you’re unsure about or a term that just isn’t making sense, let me know and I’ll add it to the glossary!
I really hope you find it helpful; Let’s get to it!
def a material that basically decomposes itself, therefore avoiding taking up space on the planet or polluting the atmosphere
def when brands agree to follow rules and values, usually as created by larger organisations
def when a brand is honest and clear ( usually about the construction process of their garments, or about the cost of each step of the value chain ( scroll down for that one ) )
more info transparency is trending
def ( aka carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions ) carbon is a greenhouse gas that fills the atmosphere and displace oxygen
def the volume of carbon emissions ( see above ) released by a brand
def when a brand doesn’t cause carbon emissions ( see above ) and goes out of their way to offset carbon ( see below ) produced by other brands
def when a brand doesn’t cause carbon emissions ( see above )
def when a brand participates in schemes to create a reduction in carbon emissions elsewhere to make up for their own carbon emissions
def a concept coined in 2014 encompassing any garments created with the intention of longevity / sustainability / non-toxicity / resource efficiency / biodegradability ( see above ) / recyclability
Clothing Value Chain
def the process from the very start of a garment’s construction to its journey onto our store shelves
def fashion that comes under the umbrella of sustainable / ethical
more info a minimalist’s guide to thrifting
Cradle to Cradle
def when a material is fully circular and able to return to its original state after use
Eco Friendly Fashion
def garments that are sourced / constructed / marketed in a way that doesn’t harm the planet
def fashion that prioritises the welfare of its craftsmen
Ethically Sourced Materials
def materials that are sourced in a way that doesn’t harm people or the planet
Fair Trade Fashion
def when a brand ensures and enforces the welfare and fair payment of its craftsmen, and supports the community in areas that they are working in
def a concept and culture that enforces the constant creation and consumption of new pieces of clothing without any attention to the planet or its people
Factories - First Tier
def this is the factory where a brand’s clothing is cut and constructed
Factories - second tier
def this is the factory where clothing is dyed, printed and completed
def Global Organic Textile Standard certified ( this requires a piece of clothing to be made of at least 70% organic fibres )
def gases that are harmful to the planet and its atmosphere
def when a brand pretends to be more sustainable than it actually is
def fibres ( which are used to create clothing ) that are produced by - you guessed it - natural sources ( e.g. plants and animals )
more info mindful materials
def eco-conscious materials that are constructed in a way that minimises water usage and doesn’t use toxic pesticides or fertilisers
def when an old / used piece of material is reconstructed for future use
def a system of farming that enhances the ecosystem
def the antonym for fast fashion ( see above )
more info the capsule wardrobe / what + why ?
def see ‘eco-friendly fashion’
more info guilt + sustainability in fashion
Sustainably Sourced Materials
def materials that are sourced in a way that doesn’t harm the planet
def man-made fibres - the antonym for natural fibres ( see above )
def garments that don’t require any harm towards animals or the use of any animal products
Virgin Raw Materials
def natural materials that have never been used - the antonym for recycled materials ( see above )
def recycling one product to create another product of increased value
def recycling one product to create another product of decreased value
def clothes that have little or no impact on the environment or its people