Our Sustainable and Ethical Fashion Glossary of Terms

Our Sustainable and Ethical Fashion Glossary of Terms

There are plenty of buzzwords surrounding the topic of sustainable fashion at the moment. It can sometimes be a bit overwhelming to get your head around. Here's our go-to glossary of common terms we've found interesting and useful lately. Hopefully this will help you sound like a sustainability super expert at your next dinner party! 


Biodegradable basically means that the item is capable of being broken down (decomposed) rapidly by the action of microorganisms, to be reabsorbed into the ecosystem. Biodegradable substances include food scraps, cotton, wool, wood, human and animal waste, manufactured products based on natural materials (such as paper, and vegetable-oil based soaps). We at OhSevenDays now use Biodegradable cargo mailer bags to ship our goods in a effort to reduce our use of plastics. 

Circular Fashion

It can be defined as clothes, shoes or accessories that are designed, sourced, produced and provided with the intention to be used and circulated responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible in their most valuable form, and hereafter return safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use.

Carbon Neutral

Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal or simply eliminating carbon emissions altogether.

Carbon Offsetting

A Carbon offset is a way to compensate for your emissions by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere. Our everyday actions, at home and at work, consume energy and produce carbon emissions, such as driving, flying and heating buildings. Carbon offsetting is used to balance out these emissions by helping to pay for emission savings in other parts of the world.

Cost per wear

The Cost per Wear is the item's current selling price divided by the ideal minimum number of times we suggest you wear or use the item, to make it truly worth your purchase. We always aim for the cost per wear to be under $5 - ideally around $1. 

$130 (cost of blouse) ÷ 30 (times you wear the item) = $4.30 Cost Per Wear 

Close the Loop

Closing the loop means avoiding wasteful discarding of clothes which also leads to wasteful manufacture. It means using our natural resources to their full potential before they are discarded. And even then, ensuring that they are discarded in a way that does not harm the environment.

Cruelty Free

Simply means the product was not tested on animals. 

Dead-stock Fabrics

Textile mills and garments factories typically have vast amounts of left over fabric, known as deadstock fabric. These are rolls of fabric that are left after a garment production run, fabric that was dyed the wrong colour, or surplus fabric that is unsold by the textile mills and left in storage.


Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment (see References 1). This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. You can engage in eco-friendly habits or practices by being more conscious of how you use resources.

Ethical Fashion

As opposed to the term 'sustainable fashion', 'ethical fashion' refers to the people involved in the production and manufacturing processes within the context of fashion. It most often refers to the treatment of people in the stages of raw material, processing and manufacture—activities typically carried out in the developing world.

Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers for designs that move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. A second, critical definition adds that fast fashion is not only about quickly moving from runway to store to consumer, but also to the garbage. Fast fashion can be defined as cheap, trendy clothing, that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed.

Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution is a not-for-profit global movement with teams in over 100 countries around the world. Fashion Revolution campaigns for systemic reform of the fashion industry with a focus on the need for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain.

Fair Trade

Members of the fair trade movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards. It promotes sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers in developing countries.


The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.


Greenwashing occurs when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be "green" through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.

Living Wage

The living wage is the amount of income needed to provide a decent standard of living. It should pay for the cost of living in any location. It should also be adjusted to compensate for inflation.


Organic clothing is clothing made from materials raised in or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards. Organic clothing may be composed of Cotton, Jute, Silk, Ramie, or Wool. A more general term is organic textiles, which includes both apparel and home textiles.


Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from landfilling).


Unused Fabric rolls or fabric pieces that are doomed to be thrown into garbage bins or landfills due to excess manufacturing or leftovers from projects.

Slow Fashion

Slow Fashion is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste.

Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is an ethical framework and suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Social responsibility means sustaining the equilibrium between the two.


In terms of ecology and economy particularly, something that can be maintained long-term without exhausting natural resources or without causing severe harm to the environment.Development, sustainable economy. 

In terms of fashion, Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. This means dealing with interdependent social, cultural, ecological and financial systems.


Transparency within a fashion company requires that they know who makes their clothes – from who stitched them right through to who dyed the fabric and who farmed the cotton — and under what conditions. Crucially, it requires brands to share this information publicly.


Upcycling is making new use from an old item. Reusing things in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. Thrifting or vintage shopping would be considered upcycling and therefore is a sustainable and eco-friendly way to shop fashion. 

Vegan Fashion

Vegan fashion is clothing and accessories made from cruelty-free sources, i.e. NO animal products were used in making the garments and gear, and no animal was harmed.

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