Sustainable Terminology

Sustainable Terminology

Just think about how many years we have been on this planet, one life span.

Then think about how much clothing a person wears in that one life. Then multiply that number by how many people there are now. That number of garments would be insanely high! And that doesn't even include peoples wardrobes who were born before you, or will exist after you. 

Mounds of clothing ending up somewhere in the world, just doesn’t sit right with me. Decreasing the demand for products that aren't considerately made, is a straight blow to the source. Consider purchasing fast fashion only from second hand source.

The fast fashion trend is slowly dyeing as people rethink what they are wearing from a more ethical lense.


I wanted to help navigate the terminology often used in the sustainable fashion world:

SUSTAINABLE - I think when people hear this word, they often associate it with a lifecycle that is completely effective in repurposing 100% of it’s waste. It sounds like theres no waste at all in making the product, which is not exactly correct. In the fashion industry, unless the garment is completely biodegradable, its end life eventually contributes to the waste problem. Not to mention all the steps along the way while being created like pattern drafting, fabric cutting, transportation and packaging.

Beware of the word sustainable when shopping, as it find it used frequently and vaguely in the fashion world.

UPCYCLED - When someone takes something (usually at its end life) and transforms pieces or the entirety of the object into something new, it's considered upcycled. This is a great alternative to using new textiles, or producing your own. Utilizing textiles already in existence and avoids excessive demands for new textiles being created. This option is quite sustainable. 

Now why not call it recycled? Well, because you are giving this item a new purpose also. Transforming blankets into clothing, or old tarps into jackets. Or old bits of sweaters into a new garment. You get the idea. 

Using this method of production puts ALOT more time and effort into preparing the materials for reuse. Like checking for holes, and or making sure there is limited wear so that the quality of the garment isn't diminished. So usually the cost of production is higher than compared to using new textiles.

DEADSTOCK - Deadstock is a term used to describe fabric. It means that the fabric used to make the garment is not exactly new fabric. It is using the fabric yardage excess, of fabric that already exists. Someone else had this fabric made, and you are using what is left of it. The concept is that you are not making new textile waste, rather using what already exists in the textile world.

In my opinion, the hardest things about working with deadstock materials are that they usually aren't traceable (like, you can't find the original source) and it's most likely not marked with fabric content either. This makes it difficult to determine how the fabric will behave. 

ORGANIC - This usually shows up when dealing with naturally grown fibres, like cotton, and linen. If it is or organic grade, that means the growing process of the crop used to make that textiles are ethical and safe for the environment - up to a certified standard. If it's not, it's most likely grown with the usage of pesticides and/or other chemicals. 


Here's some advice.

When buying things, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Is this a quality constructed garment/accessory?
  • What is it made of?
  • Is the material good quality? Does it come from a sustainable source.
  • Is it functional? Am I going to wear it more than once?
  •  Will I like t his style for a long time?
  • How does it make me feel when worn?

    We think there is only so much that us (as a single person) can do. But honestly, if enough people realize that they can make more conscious decisions with their dollar when it comes to buying clothing, it may just be enough to put an end to the catalyst of the problem. 

Until next time, 



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