Ethical Fashion Terms Cheat-Sheet

Ethical fashion. Sustainable fashion. Conscious fashion. Fair Trade fashion. What do all these phrases have in common? They’re popular buzzwords you’ve probably been hearing the past few years.

But what do they all mean?

That’s why we’re here. The next time you’re confused about one of these terms you can look them up in this handy directory! *adds to bookmark tab*

Ethical Terms Cheat-Sheet.png

Artisan Made: Artisan made is exactly what it sounds like. ARTISAN made. Not machine made, or robot made, but made by-hand by a person! You’ll find lots of artisan made things on Etsy and of course on uniquebatik.com 😉

B Corp: B Corps are for-profit (NOT non-profit) companies certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. So while they might not have the inherent trust often associated with non-profits, it’s a certification that can create some of that trust for the consumer.

Conscious fashion: This term is loosely defined. There is no “conscious fashion agency” that anyone can be rated by…so it’s just a term that you’ll hear individuals and brands  use when they’re trying to be conscious about what they’re doing in all ways. As Kestrel Jenkins of Conscious Chatter (a FAV podcast of ours- check it out if you never have!) would say, it’s where what we wear, matters. 

Cost per wear: An argument against ethical fashion you might often hear is that it’s “too expensive” and cost per wear is a great counter-point to make if you’re faced with it. Clothes from fast-fashion retail outlets might seem cheap, but they’re also cheaply made. So a top from Forever21 might cost you $12 and you wear it once before it gets ruined in the wash. That’s a $12 cost per wear. But a $44 fair trade top might be worn 10 times (or many, many, more) actually making it cheaper for you in the long run at less than $5 per wear.

Ethical fashion: Ethical fashion is similar to conscious fashion in that it touches several areas on the fashion spectrum. But while conscious fashion is typically a nod to minimalism and the negative effects of consumerism, ethical fashion has a stronger foot-hold in the people behind the garments and their well-being while creating products. You’ll see these terms exchanged for one-another.

Fair Trade: Considering “Fair Trade” is actually IN our Instagram handle (@uniquebatikfairtrade) we better have a clear definition to share! Don’t worry, we do. Simply put, Fair Trade is “trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries.” The World Fair Trade Organization highlights a focus on dialogue, transparency, and respect in trading partnerships so if you’re buying something that’s “FTF certified” you know you can feel good about it. And yes, Unique Batik is of course certified. 🤗

Made To Order: Made to order is a plainer way to say “custom”. What you’re purchasing isn’t sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting for you…because it isn’t being created until you commit to buying! You’ll see it in the ethical fashion space when it comes to tailored suits or fashions with unique, specific designs.

Sustainable fashion: In terms of our list, sustainable fashion is the term most associated with green fashion or eco fashion (all three terms are subbed for each other). It’s a focus on the social responsibility we have for the environment when it comes to the fashion industry. Have you seen our rococo two-zip coin purses? They’re made out of recycled rococo fabric in Guatemala!

Up-cycled: Hand-in-hand with the zero waste movement (below) would be up-cycled fashions. AKA using things that already exist in order to create something new…rather than creating something new just for the sake of it. The Google definition is: reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. Who remembers the koolaid jammer purse craze?!

Zero Waste: Zero waste might be the most trendy word on our whole list right now. Lauren Singer, of Trash is for Tossers is a celebrity of sorts these days. She got her rise on Instagram and her blog for collecting all of her trash from a several year time span into one tiny little mason jar. She now has a shop in Brooklyn (packagefreeshop.com) where you can buy the essentials to starting your own zero waste lifestyle.

Please reach out if you have any questions about the above terms, or any others in the ethical fashion space. We’re here to help! Now…venture forth with good karma on your body (and a good dictionary in your pocket).

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