A Conscious Fashion Glossary


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

Brand Compliancy

def when brands agree to follow rules and values, usually as created by larger organisations

Brand Transparency

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

Carbon Emissions

def ( aka carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions ) carbon is a greenhouse gas that fills the atmosphere and displace oxygen

Carbon Footprint

def the volume of carbon emissions ( see above ) released by a brand

carbon negative

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

Carbon Neutral

def when a brand doesn’t cause carbon emissions ( see above )

Carbon Offsetting

def when a brand participates in schemes to create a reduction in carbon emissions elsewhere to make up for their own carbon emissions

Circular Fashion

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

Conscious Fashion

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

Ethical Fashion

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

Fast Fashion

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

more info how to resist the temptation of fast fashion

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

gots certified

def Global Organic Textile Standard certified ( this requires a piece of clothing to be made of at least 70% organic fibres )

Greenhouse Gases

def gases that are harmful to the planet and its atmosphere


def when a brand pretends to be more sustainable than it actually is

Natural Fibres

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

Organic Materials

def eco-conscious materials that are constructed in a way that minimises water usage and doesn’t use toxic pesticides or fertilisers

Recycled Material

def when an old / used piece of material is reconstructed for future use

Regenerative agriculture

def a system of farming that enhances the ecosystem

Slow Fashion

def the antonym for fast fashion ( see above )

more info the capsule wardrobe / what + why ?

Sustainable Fashion

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

Synthetic Fibres

def man-made fibres - the antonym for natural fibres ( see above )

Vegan-Friendly Fashion

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

Low Impact

def clothes that have little or no impact on the environment or its people