Redress Design Award
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Glossary

glossary

Learn The Language

B

  • BIODEGRADABLE is the ability to decompose (or broken down) by bacteria or living organisms.

C

  • CARBON EMISSIONS are the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) gases primarily from the use of fossil fuels by human activities, such as petrol in vehicles, into the atmosphere.
  • CARBON FOOTPRINT is a measure in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) of the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted (directly or indirectly) through an activity from an individual, organization or community.   
  • CELLULOSE FIBRES are fibres that originate from plants and include both natural cellulose fibres such as cotton and man-made cellulose fibres such as lyocell.
  • CERTIFIED ORGANIC is a label given to products which have approval from an authoritative independant body like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), who check the cycle from growth to end product to ensure sustainable standards are met. Depending on the product, the requirements will vary.
  • CLOSED LOOP DESIGN is when a product is designed to be easily deconstructed at the end of its use to enable it to have another function, thereby eliminating all waste. In this way, a used product’s output becomes the input for a new product or function.
  • CLOTHING BANKS are garment recycling collection stations in the community, placed by a charitable or commercial organisation, where consumers can recycle their used clothing.
  • CLOTHING DRIVES are events where unwanted clothing is collected from individuals and most commonly donated to charity or sold to raise funds for charity.
  • CLOTHING SAMPLES are part-finished or finished clothing samples from the design and production of clothing.
  • CONVENTIONALLY GROWN is the name given to methods of growing which include using genetically modified seeds as well as synthetic chemicals which include insecticides, pesticides, hormones and fertilisers (sometimes also referred to as traditionally or commercially grown).
  • CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR) is a voluntary initiative by companies to reduce the negative social and environmental impacts of their businesses.
  • CRADLE-TO-CRADLE is a closed loop design process that is free of waste. When a product is no longer useful, it becomes material for another product.
  • CUT-AND-SEW WASTE are textile scraps generated during garment manufacturing. It is often considered waste and is discarded due to its uneven and small formats.

D

  • DAMAGED TEXTILES are unused textiles that have been damaged for example with colour or print defects, rendering them unusable.
  • DOWN-CYCLING is the recycling of something into a material with a lower value or quality than the original item.

E

  • E-COMMERCE is the buying and selling of goods and/or services through the Internet. 
  • ECO is a prefix for ecology, usually referring to ecological concerns or benefits.
  • ECO-CHIC is the term commonly used to describe something that is environmentally conscious as well as being stylish.
  • ECO-LABELS are environmental claims made on a product or through advertising using certifications, standards, logos, symbols or certain strong types of sustainability vocabulary.
  • ECOSYSTEM is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.
  • END-OF-ROLLS are factory surplus textiles that have been left over from garment manufacturing.

F

  • FAST FASHION is a term that refers to low-cost, low-quality clothing that has been rapidly produced to replicate catwalk trends.
  • FIBRE CULTIVATION is the action of farming land for crops which are used as fibres for textiles.

G

  • GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) means organisms in which the DNA has been changed through genetic engineering. In fibre production, this is most often done to create changes which ensure greater success for the crop, for example increased pesticide resistance, or improved crop yields.
  • GREENHOUSE EFFECT is the trapping of the sun’s warmth in a planet’s lower atmosphere due to the presence of gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour, which allow incoming sunlight to pass through them but absorb heat radiated back from the earth’s surface.
  • GREENHOUSE GAS is a type of gas in the atmosphere that absorbs infrared radiation and traps heat inside the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the greenhouse effect. They exist naturally but are increased through human activity with emissions such as CO2 and methane.
  • GREEN-WASHING is a term given to misleading, exaggerated or untrue claims about a product’s environmental benefits in a company’s communications.

i

  • INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM) is an environmental approach that focuses on long-term prevention of pests by integrating biological control, habitat manipulation and modification of cultural practices. Pesticides are used only after monitoring and established guidelines indicate pests exceed acceptable levels.

L

  • LANOLIN is the grease from sheep wool, which is usually removed before use for consumer products in a chemical process called scouring.
  • LIFECYCLE is the journey a product makes from the extraction of its raw materials, through production and usage, all the way though to its disposal or recycling.
  • LIFECYCLE ASSESSMENT is a technique that assesses the energy and material inputs and outputs, and the associated environmental impacts of a product or service system throughout its lifecycle. 
  • LYOCELL is a man-made cellulose fibre created from cellulose pulp (most commonly eucalyptus wood, but can also be bamboo), which uses a closed-loop process in which up to 99.8% of the chemicals used in its creation can be recovered for re-use. TENCEL™ is the most commonly recognised producer of Lyocell and is made from sustainably managed forests, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.

M

  • MICROFIBRE is a fibre finer than one denier or decitex/thread, having a diameter of less than ten micrometres.

P

  • PESTICIDES are chemical or biological agents used to kill or destroy any type of pests or insects. In the fashion industry, conventionally grown cotton uses various pesticides, which have damaging effects to both humans and wildlife.
  • POST-CONSUMER WASTE is waste collected after the consumer has disposed of it.
  • PRE-CONSUMER WASTE is made up of manufacturing waste that has not reached the consumer.
  • PROTEIN FIBRES are fibres that come from animals which include silk and wool.
  • PULP is a soft, wet mass made from plant fibres and water, most commonly used for making regenerated cellulose fibres.

R

  • RAYON is a man-made cellulose fibre similar to viscose which is created using the viscose process, but can be made from the pulp of many different plants.
  • RECONSTRUCTION is a form of up-cycling and is the process of making new clothes from waste formed of previously worn garments or preformed finished clothing products. This process involves first deconstructing garments and then reconstructing the waste materials into new designs.
  • RECYCLABLE describes a material that can be reused by turning it into a new usable material or product.
  • RECYCLED is when a waste material or product has been reused and turned into a new usable material or product.
  • REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE are the so-called 3Rs that classify waste management, according to their order of importance. Reduce consumption and usage, reuse items again where possible and recycle materials at the end of their lives.
  • REGENERATED CELLULOSE FIBRE is created by dissolving the cellulose portion of the plant using chemicals to create a fibre for textiles, as the original plant is not supple enough. Examples include viscose, rayon and lyocell.
  • RESPONSIBLE CONSUMERISM is choosing to purchase products and services that take into account their social and environmental impact.
  • RETTING is the action of soaking plant materials (such as coconuts and hemp) in water to soften.

S

  • SAMPLING YARDAGE is factory surplus waste leftover from textile sample manufacturing.
  • SECONDHAND is a product that is acquired after it has been used by someone else.
  • SECONDHAND CLOTHING is any clothing or fashion accessories that have been owned and then discarded by consumers (both used and unused).
  • SECONDHAND TEXTILES are any finished non-clothing textiles (such as curtains, bedding etc) that have been owned and then discarded by consumers (both used and unused).
  • SOLVENT is a liquid in which solid materials will dissolve.
  • SUPPLY CHAIN refers to the steps and resources involved in the production of a product from raw materials extraction, all the way through to transporting it to the consumer.
  • SUSTAINABILITY is a lasting system and process that meets the current population’s needs while preserving for the future.
  • SUSTAINABLE FASHION is clothing that is produced with consideration to the environment and social impacts throughout its lifespan.
  • SUSTAINABLE TEXTILES are textiles produced with minimal environmental impact.
  • SWAP/SWISH is the free exchange of garments between people. It is a form of direct recycling through swapping of unwanted garments.
  • SYNTHETIC FIBRE is fibre which is man-made from non-cellulose based matter. Examples include polyester and acrylic.

T

  • TAKE-BACK is a term used by companies collecting unwanted or used items from their customers.
  • TEXTILE RECYCLING is reusing or reprocessing used clothing, fibrous material and/or textile scraps from the manufacturing process.
  • TEXTILE SWATCHES are leftover textile sample swatches from the production process.
  • TEXTILE WASTE is the textile by-product of the manufacturing of garments, fabrics, yarns or fibres that are deemed unusable for its original purpose by the owner.
  • TRANSITIONAL ORGANIC / ORGANIC IN-CONVERSION is a process of changing from a traditional/conventional method to an organic method of production. Depending on the product, the requirements of the authoritative body will vary as to when the product can be confirmed as certified organic – and this is often after a number of years.
  • TRANSPARENT BUSINESS is being completely open and honest about your business practices.
  • TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE is an accounting framework that has been adopted by some companies which considers the impacts of their business on ‘people, planet, profit’ instead of the usual financial framework.

U

  • UNSOLD CLOTHING WASTE is clothing (finished or unfinished) that has not been sold.
  • UP-CYCLING is the transformation of materials into products of equal or higher quality. In fashion, this means prolonging the life of waste textiles through creativity.

V

  • VISCOSE is a man-made cellulose fibre made from the pulp of wood or bamboo and chemically processed to create a new polymer. Viscose is traditionally made in a chemical process which requires significant amounts of water and the chemicals used in production cannot be recovered for re-use.

Z

  • ZERO-WASTE is a design technique that eliminates textile waste at the design stage.