Behind the Label: A Sustainable Fashion Dictionary, Part I

The words “organic”, “sustainable”, “natural”, and “eco-friendly” have become so trendy that they seem to be used on the labels of just about everything we purchase. In order to provide some clarity on what exactly you should be looking for when making ethical purchases, we are sharing this chic mini-dictionary, with you! This can help add meaning to your “sustainable” shopping ventures and provide a foundation for any changes you make to your wardrobe.

Here are some terms that you will come across when purchasing garments that have a less harmful impact on the environment:

1) Organic Clothing 

Organic clothing is a label that refers to garments that are made without harmful chemicals, pesticides, or dyes. Not only do these chemicals have a detrimental impact on the environment, but they can also negatively affect your skin!

How do you know if something is organic?

Look for verification on the label, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) symbol, the Soil Association symbol, or the Organic Exchange (OE) symbol.

Image 1

Check out the brand Kowtow and their Voyage Cape Dress featured above! They use sustainable fabrics, such as fair trade organic cotton, which was used to create this dress. In addition, they list all of their certifications under each garment, so you can be sure you are really buying what they are advertising!

2) Vegan Fashion 

Vegan garments are made without the use of animal products. Giving up leather may seem like an obvious choice, yet there are garments made from cashmere and suede that also use animal products. It may be hard to go completely vegan, but there are a few brands that take pride in providing vegan clothing options to their customers.

Image 2

Vaute is a fashion brand based in New York City that takes pride in creating vegan high fashion. Take a look at their A-Line Skirt above that is made from organic linen and organic cotton. Their garments are made without harming animals or using animal products!

3) Ethical Undergarments 

We have spent so much time discussing clothing brands and we have yet to focus on the sustainability of what we wear under our clothes! The bras and undergarments that we purchase are often affordable and convenient. There are companies, however, that focus on offering undergarments that are ethically produced with sustainable materials.

Image 3

Consider Naja, founded by Catalina Girald and Gina Rodriguez, featured above. Not only are Naja’s undergarments made from recycled materials, but the brand strives to empower women! Each product is made by a single mother or a woman who is the head of her household. The brand supports these women by paying above market wages to provide health benefits and child education stipends. Now that is what we call ethical!

Stay tuned for our follow up posts to expand our sustainable dictionary!

Information and pictures gathered from: Eco Warrior Princess, Kowtow, Vaute, and Naja



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