"A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems." (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)


Garments designed and produced with the entire life cycle of a product in mind, most notably, being mindful of what happens once a piece reaches its end-of-life. The intention is for garments to last as long as possible and once they're no longer of use to consumers, they circulate back into the fashion production process successfully or return safely to the biosphere where they aren't causing damage to the planet. It is a regenerative system and an alternative business model taking the fashion industry by storm. "The system enabling products of today to become the resources of tomorrow." (Circular.Fashion)


As an ever-evolving term, Ethical Fashion has a definition that is being added to constantly. It refers to conscious business practices in the fashion industry that cause no harm to consumers, workers and or the planet. It is a term currently utilised most to refer to responsible sourcing of raw materials for garment production, good working conditions and standard of living in regards to pay and opportunities of garment production workers. Ethical Fashion also refers to the entirety of a brand's supply chain, conscious product distribution and transparency of a brands process/business practices.


As an industry that has notoriously been a very secretive one, the fashion world is changing. Transparency is the first step towards an alternative industry culture, where brands are held accountable across their supply chain and openly and honestly disclose information about their products to consumers. 


Greenwashing is the practice of deceptively marketing a product or a brand as sustainable or eco-friendly BUT, on closer inspection the supply chain and or business practices are not represented truthfully.  Brands often do this to present an environmentally responsible public image without actually making it a part of their ethos, they are in it for the hype!


Natural fibres are obtained from plants, animals or mineral sources; cotton, linen, silk and wool are examples of natural fibres. These are less toxic and more sustainable than synthetic fibers. When it comes to the end of a garment’s life, natural fibres decompose much faster than synthetic fibers.


Slow fashion is the opposite to fast fashion and part of the "slow movement" and awareness-building approach to fashion. Advocating for buying better-quality garments that will last longer while valuing fair treatment of people and the planet. Slow fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better. It's fashion that is quality-based, not time-based.


The supply chain of a product encompasses all parts of the process (from concept to customer) which go into creating an item and getting it to the hands of customers. From raw materials, to the factories where those materials are made into garments, to the distribution network by which the clothes got from factories, it includes products going to warehouses, retail space or direct to a consumer's doorstep. 


Sustainability is complex and is interpreted in different ways. At its core however, it is all about practices that support the planet, people, and economic health. Sustainability is conscious that resources are finite and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to prioritise long-term use and consider the consequences of the resources that are used. The UN World Commission on Environment and Development state it simply as: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


“Sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components. From an environmental perspective, the aim should be to minimize any undesirable environmental effect of the product’s life cycle by: (a) ensuring efficient and careful use of natural resources (water, energy, land, soil, animals, plants, biodiversity, ecosystems, etc); (b) selecting renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc) at every stage, and (c) maximizing repair, remake, reuse, and recycling of the product and its components. From a socio-economic perspective, all stakeholders should work to improve present working conditions for workers on the field, in the factories, transportation chain, and stores, by aligning with good ethics, best practice and international codes of conduct. In addition, fashion companies should contribute to encourage more sustainable consumption patterns, caring and washing practices, and overall attitudes to fashion.” (Dr. Brismar, Green Strategy)


Synthetic fibers are human-made through chemical processes, as opposed to natural fibers that are directly derived from living organisms. Synthetic fibers are an increasingly long-term threat the planet because they are non-biodegradable and unsustainable to the environment. The most popular synthetic fibers are Polyester and Nylon, which are by-products of petroleum and very hazardous to the planet.


With the rise of fast-fashion brands that produce economical and low quality products, consumers have adopted the trend of purchasing a lot of clothing, wearing it once or twice and getting rid of items faster and faster —mirroring the way we use single-use plastic. We already know how damaging single-use plastics are for the planet, clothing’s throw-away culture is even worse.


Zero-Waste in fashion is the process of utilizing raw materials and resources in conscious and efficient ways so that no waste is sent to landfills, incinerators or the ocean. The Zero Waste Alliance defines Zero-Waste as: “The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”