The Revolution is coming! The Revolution is coming!

Have you heard of the Fashion Revolution? Not exactly Paul Revere on horseback running through the streets (although, not a bad idea). No, this revolution is coming from consumers, designers, businesses, producers, makers, brands and fashion lovers. They are using their voices (and their social media) to demand a transparent supply chain for our clothing.

Fashion Revolution has some fantastic resources for learning why we need a Fashion Revolution. But have you ever felt lost in all the ethical fashion lingo?

Yeah it’s a lot – trust us. We figured if the Fashion Revolution is upon us, we better get the vocabulary down pat. If you have been on the ethical fashion train for years or just a few days, now’s the perfect time to get on board with all the latest linguistics.

Here’s a crash course of all the terms and acronyms you’ll need to understand and demand a Fashion Revolution, and once you’re done – we have a pop quiz to test out your rev-ready lingo 🏆



Organic Cotton • cotton without the side of pesticides

Organic fibers must be grown without the use of conventional pesticides or fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients. In fashion, this applies to the raw materials used to make fabric like cotton, bamboo, or linen. (A “pesticide-free” label alone, however, doesn’t qualify something as organic.)

Natural or Low Impact Dyes • a good dye job

Natural dyes are grown or extracted from plants, animals, or resources in the natural world. Most natural dyes are made from plants like roots, berries, bark, flowers, leaves, and even fungi. Low impact dyes are synthetic dyes that require less resources, and can be reused in dye processes. These are generally made without toxic chemicals and mordants, and certified by Oeko-Tex Standard 100.

Cradle to Cradle / Closed-Loop / Circular coming full circle

Cradle-to-cradle systems account for the creation, use, and end of lifecycle for a product, and how it will be recycled after its first lifecycle. This approach is alternative to the current cradle-to-grave approach where products are just sent to landfills for hundreds of years.

Greenpeace Detox Catwalk a catwalk without the chemicals

Greenpeace launched its “Detox My Fashion” campaign in July 2011 to ask the textile industry to urgently take responsibility for its contribution to toxic pollution.The campaign has secured global Detox commitments from 76 international brands, retailers and suppliers and has had political impacts, triggering policy changes in the Europe and Asia. Fashion brands, in particular, can play an important role in transforming the sector because of the influence they have on suppliers and trends.


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)the ultimate tree huggers

The FSC label is an independent, third party certification scheme that audits on-the-ground logging operations according to ten international principles and criteria. An FSC label ensures chain-of-custody tracking, transparency of management plans, protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and strict limits on the conversion of natural forest lands.

bluesign • don’t you know that you’re toxic?

The bluesign standard analyzes all input streams, from raw materials to chemical components, to resources to ensure that no harmful substances are used in the manufacturing of products. Prior to production, components are assessed based on their ecotoxicological impact.

OEKO-TEX Standard 100sounds like a washing machine, works like one too

The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is an independent certification system that tests for harmful substances in textile raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of production. Testing for harmful substances includes: illegal substances, legally regulated substances, known harmful (but not legally regulated) chemicals as well as parameters for health care.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) • gots to be organic

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well. You’ve definitely seen organic t-shirts, towels, bedding etc. out there.



Code of Conduct • behave yourself

At a minimum, brands should have a basic set of labor standards based on the International Labor Organization core conventions and the Ethical Trading Initiative base code.


Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) • better together

The ETI is an alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for and collectively tackles issues regarding workers’ rights. All corporate members of ETI agree to adopt the ETI Base Code of labour practice, which is based on the standards of the International Labour Organization. Members of the ETI include Stella McCartney, Burberry, ASOS, Eileen Fisher, H&M, & Inditex (Zara).

Bangladesh Building and Fire Safety Accord

The Accord is an independent, legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions designed to work towards a safe and healthy Bangladeshi Ready-Made Garment Industry. The aim is to ensure health and safety measures are in place to  create working environments where no worker fears fires, building collapses, or other accidents.

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act I can see clearly now

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act provides consumers with critical information about the efforts that companies are undertaking to prevent and root out human trafficking and slavery in their product supply chains. This Act requires large retailers and manufacturers doing business in California to disclose on their websites their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their direct supply chain for tangible goods offered for sale. You’ll notice many American brands with a disclosure about this at the bottom of their webpage. Check out Warby Parker’s CA Transparency in Supply Chains Act compliance here.

Fair Trade Federation let’s be fair

The Fair Trade Federation is a membership organization of businesses who practice 360 fair trade. Only those organizations which have passed the screening process are admitted as members and permitted to display the Fair Trade Federation logo. Brands like Kottow, Eileen Fisher and Patagonia sell Fair Trade products. You’ve also probably had fair trade coffee. Look at you.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition • advancing through alliances

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is the apparel, footwear and home textile industry’s alliance for sustainable production. The Coalition’s main focus is on building the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement tool for all industry participants to understand the environmental and social and labor impacts of making and selling their products and services.

Verité verify, verify, verify

Verité services help companies and other stakeholders fully understand labor issues, overcome obstacles, and build sustainable solutions into their supply chains, benefiting companies and workers alike.


B Corp • sometimes a B is better than an A

B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab, that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

B Corp brands include Elvis & Kresse, Reformation, Patagonia, Warby Parker, Eileen Fisher, & Mud Jeans.

Ethical Clothing Australiafor mates

Ethical Clothing Australia is an accreditation body working with Australian textile, clothing and footwear companies to ensure their local supply chains are transparent and legally compliant.

SA8000it isn’t a robot, it’s actually for humans

SA8000 is an auditable social certification standard for decent workplaces, across all industrial sectors. It is based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights, conventions of the ILO, UN and national law, and spans industry and corporate codes to create a common language to measure social performance

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) • no fluff here

The BCI aims to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. BCI works with a diverse range of stakeholders across the cotton supply chain to promote measurable and continuing improvements for the environment, farming communities and the economies of cotton-producing areas.

International Fairtrade Certification Mark (FLO International) so fresh and so fair, fair

For a product to display the Fairtrade Mark it must meet the international Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards which are set by the certification body Fairtrade International. Fairtrade seeks to build transparent and sustainable trading relationships between Fairtrade farmers and workers and buyers that allow for long term planning and sustainable production practices.


• • •

It’s time to test out your ethical fashion lingo. You ready for this? Let’s go.

Which certification scheme involves paying producers a fair price, and makes nine other commitments, including, ‘creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers’ and ‘ensuring no child labour or forced labour’?

Products with these two certifications will have a 5-star guarantee of their material’s safety, and fiber content?

In the wake of the Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013, 190 brands including Abercrombie & Fitch have signed this, which one includes a ‘role for unions, a commitment to transparency … [,] a requirement that brands support remediation … [or] an obligation for brands to stay committed to their factories’?

What system accounts for the entire lifecycle of a product, from conception to end of use?

Looking for an organization that works to set worldwide standards for the entire supply chain of cotton? Look no further than ________.

If you want to make sure a brand is using rigorous social and environmental guidelines on accountability and performance, see if they hold a __________ certification.

This alliance is setting the standards for how businesses use supply chain measurements on the social, environmental, and labor impacts of making their products. (Hint: They know what the Higg is going on)

____________ is taking a creative (or fashionable) approach to telling consumers the toxic truth about their threads.

Organic fibers are made without:

This is members-only organization of businesses that operate with rigorous and thorough fair trade practices and commitments. The organization uses a certification mark that is only available to members that have passed stringent testing protocol.

• • •


Ready to take it to the next level?
Check out our New Slang page for ALL the jargon you need to sound like an industry pro.