Welcome to the Fashionkind Glossary. We created this Glossary to have an outlet to share what we are learning about the growing world of conscious commerce.  As we learn we want to share it with you.  


A worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.


A substance or object capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms.


A landlocked country in western Africa, in the Sahel; population 15,746,200 (est. 2009); capital, Ouagadougou; languages, French (official), indigenous languages. Former name (until 1984) Upper Volta.


The amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.


Making no net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, especially through offsetting emissions by planting trees.


An action or process (typically the planting of trees) which counteracts or is claimed to counteract the emission of carbon dioxide resulting from industrial or other human activity; a quantifiable amount of such action as a tradable commodity.


Decayed organic material used as a plant fertilizer.


Inorganic cotton.  One of the largest pesticide-dependent crops in the world, accounting for approximately 25% of the world's insecticide usage and 10-15% of the world's pesticide usage.  Conventional cotton farmers most commonly implement: genetically modified seeds that are treated with fungicides and pesticides to increase a crop's yield; herbicides to control weeds; pesticides to kill or deter pests; and fertilizer to provide nutrition to highly degraded soil. 


Regenerated cellulosic fibre made from a cellulose source such as cotton linters which are by-product of the industrial harvest of cotton (waste fibers too small to spin) using a solution including copper sulfate and aqueous ammonia. Cupro is a lustrous textile, commonly used as a lining fabric. Cellulosic matter from the cotton gin is processed using the cuprammonium method of rayon textile production. Cupro is biodegradable. 


A term used to describe merchandise that was never sold to or used by consumers before being removed from sale, usually because it was outdated. Dead stock is often warehoused, but it can also subsequently be offered for sale and typically retains its original package and tags.


Avoiding activities or organizations that do harm to people or the environment.


Trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries.


A strong cotton and linen fabric.


Global Organic Textile Standard: 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.


A Moroccan wedding blanket. Each wedding blanket is one-of-a-kind with a storied history.  It adorned the shoulders of a bride on her wedding day, keeping her warm during her journey to her husband.  The sequins are said to glisten in the moonlit sky as she travels through the Atlas mountains.  In true Berber tradition, it is believed that the handira brings blessings and good fortune.


Strong cloth made from the fibres of the flax plant.  It ​grows well on land unsuitable for food production and can rely on rainfall for irrigation. It is also said to have antimicrobial properties and has high moisture absorption, as it takes up water rapidly and releases it quickly again into the surroundings. Linen also has thermal insulation, which makes it feel fresh and cool, making it good for summer clothing. Linen is biodegradable.​


A sedge that grows in tufts in the cracks of rocks. Each blade grows in a sheath and pulls out easily when harvested so it does not damage the roots of the grass - which quickly regenerates and sends out more shoots. This strong grass has been used in Swaziland for hundreds of years to make ropes for tying down roofing thatch.


A type of rayon fibre produced specifically from the cellulose of trees. The wood pulp is subjected to an organic solvent spinning process. Lyocell is biodegradable. Its most common trademark is Tencel™, which is produced by Lenzing


Regenerated cellulose product that is manufactured in a closed-loop system, where the viscose processing has been optimized to achieve a high recovery rate of its by-products, thereby making it more sustainable than rayon. It is made from beech wood pulp and is biodegradable. It has similar characteristics to cotton.


Decorative apparel fabrics made by women of the Kuna or Guna indigenous communities of Panama and Colombia. They are made by applying cut out layers of fabric on top of each other. The more layers, the more fine the Mola. Each fabric is the particular design of the artisan woman that carefully works on it. The women use the Molas to decorate their shirts. They place one in front and one in the back of the shirt, usually matching. They are an art in itself; each Mola is a representation of the Kuna culture, their beliefs and traditions. Some tell a story and depict animals, people or situations, and others are abstract designs.​


A substance, typically an inorganic oxide, that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material.


(Also known as bogolanfini), a handmade Malian cotton fabric originated by the women of Mali's Bamana culture centuries ago, using a mud-dyeing technique which was traditionally done during the dry season. Bamana people use mudcloth to mark major life transitions; each piece is unique, and features various cultural symbols relating to wealth, nature, animals and more. 


Relating to or derived from living matter.


Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third­-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, federal regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming.


For centuries, “agaseke” – traditional Rwandan baskets {like the one pictured above!} – have been an essential part of Rwandan culture – woven into the fabric of everyday life as vessels for food and grains, household catchalls, and gifts for important ceremonies, like weddings and christenings. Historically, weaving was passed down from mother to daughter, generation to generation, as a rite of passage marking the transition into womanhood and symbolizing a mother’s care for her children and her country. However, after the 1994 genocide, this age-old tradition took on a new and powerful meaning in Rwanda. When the genocide in Rwanda ended, women were left to pick up the pieces of their shattered country.  In order to provide for themselves, their families, and the countless orphans left in the destruction’s wake, many banded together to form artisan cooperatives—overcoming past differences to work together towards a brighter future. These determined women decided to use traditional agaseke baskets as a symbol of Rwanda’s newfound peace, and the baskets’ iconic zigzag patterns came to represent the image of two women holding hands—embracing reconciliation, unity, and hope for the future of Rwanda. 


Raw or processed material that can be recovered from a waste stream for reuse.


A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), also known as a Renewable Energy Credit, is created for each megawatt-hour (1 MWh, or 1000 kilowatt-hours) of renewable electricity generated and delivered to the power grid. Purchasers of RECs provide renewable energy project owners with a revenue stream that supplements the revenue they secure from the sale of the project’s electricity. These additional revenues improve renewable energy project economics, increasing their competitiveness with fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.


(In Morocco) a large traditional house built around a central courtyard, often converted into a hotel.


A plant-like grass that grows in wet ground or near water.


An agave plant and alternative plant fibre, sisal is primarily used in the production of rope and twine, and more recently has been used as an environmentally friendly alternative to materials such as asbestos and fibreglass for insulation. It is commonly mistaken to be a relative of hemp, which it is not. It is resilient and stiff, and as a naturally occurring fibre it is biodegradable.


Of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.


The trademark name for a lyocell produced by Lenzing Fibres, using the cellulose from Eucalyptus trees, which can be planted on marginal lands and does not require irrigation or pesticides. Lenzing implements a 99.5% closed loop processing of this particular rayon, conserving water. Close to 100% of the solvent is recovered and the remaining emissions are broken down in biological water treatment plants; the solvent used is a non-toxic alternative to viscose. Tencel™ fabric drapes well and is quick-drying.


One of the basic weave structures in which the filling threads are woven over and under two or more warp yarns, producing a characteristic diagonal pattern.


Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.


The amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of the goods and services used by a particular person or group:

**Sources for these definitions include: 3DegreesInc.com, Business Dictionary, Global-Standard.org, Indego Africa, Merriam Webster, Mola Sasa, OrganicCottonPlus.org, Oxford Dictionary, ToxicFashion.org, MindaHome, LivingGreenMag.com, and Smithsonian.