Organic Clothing Glossary

Posted by Andrea Felder on

Organic Clothing Glossary

What is organic clothing? Organic clothing is clothing that is made following organic agricultural standards. This glossary of terms related to organic clothing will help you to navigate and understand the industry better.


A synthetic material that is essentially plastic. Acrylic is made through a chemical process. 


A giant wood-like grass that is used to make textiles. Clothing and textiles are made from bamboo rayon.


Products that can be broken down or decomposed. Biodegradable products are absorbed back into the ecosystem. 

Biodegradable Clothing

Clothing that is biodegradable and is made from organic material that will eventually return to earth.


A soft, wool material produced by Kashmir goats.


Garments that are worn on the body.


A fibrous plant that is used in the production of textiles.

Cradle to Cradle

Textiles that have been specifically made to be recycled. 


Products that are made without harm to animals. 


To break down and return to the earth. 


Earth-friendly. Does not hurt the environment but is kind to the environment. 


An ecosystem is a community of living organisms that interact and are interconnected. 


The natural world, as a whole or in a particular geographical area, especially as affected by human activity.


Relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these.

Ethical Fashion

An umbrella term to describe ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare.

Ethically Made

Products that are produced (made) while limiting the harmful effects on the environment. 


Clothing that is made from textile fibers.


Fairtrade ensures trade between developed countries and developing countries are done fairly and the fair market price is paid to the producer. 

Fashion Revolution

A revolution is a movement. The fashion revolution is the movement that values people, creativity, and the environment equally. 


Flax is a herbaceous plant in which textiles are made from the stalk of the plant. 


Products that are made by hand instead of produced by machinery. 


Hemp is a plant that is used in the manufacturing of textiles. Hemp fabric is made from the herbaceous plant.

Living Matter

Living matter are organisms that are living. 


Lyocell is a man-made product. It is a rayon-like material that is produced from dissolving pulp.


Products that are made by man. 

Micro Plastics

Small pieces of plastic that are dangerous and harmful to marine and aquatic life. 


A product made from beech wood pulp that is biodegradable.


The act of dealing with what is good and what is bad in the world and what your beliefs are. 


Things that are produced (or made) in nature. Products that are not man-made. 


Nylon is a synthetic polymer that is used to produce textiles, and is manufactured through a chemical process.


Organic material or textiles are items that have been produced from living matter (naturally occurring). 

Organic Cotton

A fibrous plant that is used in the production of textiles. Organic cotton is made from GMO-free plants. Organic cotton plants are cultivated without the use of fertilizers or pesticides.

Organic Clothing

Clothing that is made from organic materials that do not go through any chemical processes. 

Organic Clothing Glossary for Children

A glossary of terms about the organic clothing industry designed for children. 


Polyester is a polymer. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is produced through a process of weaving synthetic polyester fibers together. 

Post-Consumer Waste

Waste created after a consumer has used a product. 

Pre-Consumer Waste

Waste created from the making of the product. 


To make, create, or develop a product. 


Rayon is a type of polyester. Rayon is produced through a chemical process of treating the material with a variety of chemicals (ammonia, acetone, and sulfuric acid). 


Recycling is the act of converting waste or unwanted/unneeded items into reusable material. 


Using an item again or more than once. 

Second Hand 

Second-hand clothing is based on the concept that pre-loved , used , or donated clothing are much more environmentally friendly than purchasing new items of usher these preloved pieces into the trashbin. 


Interactions between people. 

Social Responsibility

Being aware of how your actions impact the world around you: socially, economically, environmentally.


Sustainability means that the system or product relies on its own vitality and can be consistently maintained for reuse. This is creating something that lasts. 

Sustainable Fashion

A movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice.


Synthetic means that it is fake or man-made. 

Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic Fibers are fibers that are not organically grown or produced. Synthetic fibers are made by chemical processes and go through massive amounts of chemical changes. 


Tencel is also referred to as Lyocell. Tencel is an organic fiber that is produced from the pulp of wood and is sustainable. 


Cloth or fabric products.


Viscose is another term used to describe rayon. Viscose is a man-made fiber made from a chemical process of chemically extracted material from trees.


The product (hair) of a sheep, goat, or other animals. Wool consists of proteins and lipids and is shaved off of the animal that is providing the wool to make a textile.


Turning something that has been used into something new and eye-catching. 


A person that does not eat, use, or wear animal-based products. 

55. Vegan Leather - Vegan leather is an alternative to real leather. Vegan leather is not made from animal skin.

Peer Reviewed Organic Clothing Research

Organic Cotton Industry - Download the PDF 

Exploring consumers’ perceptions of eco-conscious apparel acquisition behaviors - Download the PDF

Comparison of the Organic Impact of Clothing - Download the PDF

Quick Guide to Organic Cotton - Read Now

Microfibres from apparel and home textiles: Prospects for including microplastics in environmental sustainability assessment - Read Now

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