Sustainable Fashion: A List of Organizations, Certifications, Terms, and Fabrics

This list is an ongoing project that aims to bring together all of the organizations, certifications, businesses, NGOs, ethical movements, technical terms, and jargon associated with sustainability–particularly as regards fashion–and the goal of caring for the environment, the climate, welfare of animals, and the rights of human individuals, whether they be farmers, manufacturers, or shoppers.

It will be updated as time goes on. If you wish to see something added to this list, please get in touch at [email protected]

Sustainability Organizations and Certifications

Green tree logo of sustainability organization

American Forests was founded in 1875. They are the oldest national non-profit conservation organization in the United States. They are currently focused on building a reforestation movement. They encompass climate change, social equity, wildlife, and water health.

Certified B Corporation logo of sustainability organization

B Certified Corporation: B Corp, short for benefit corporation, are businesses that balance purpose and profit. “They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.” They must meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. The overall positive impact of the company is considered. They should “use their profits and growth as a means to provide positive impact or their employees, communities, and the environment. B Corps must achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment which has over 80 “impact areas”. Companies also must be transparent on the B Impact Report site. They can be certified by B Lab which is a nonprofit organization. Based on performance, B Certified Corporation issues yearly lists, including Best for the World.

BCI logo of sustainability organization

Better Cotton Initiative is the largest cotton sustainability program in the world. It is a global, not-for-profit organization that wants to make cotton production better for the people who produce it and more environmentally friendly. BCI provides training on sustainable farming practices to more than 2.3 million cotton farmers in 23 countries, with more than 1,840 members from farms to fashion to textile brand.

The Better Cotton Standard system is a holistic approach to sustainable cotton production which covers the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic. The system is designed to ensure the exchange of good practices and to encourage the scaling up of collective action to establish Better Cotton as a mainstream commodity.

Blue Business Council is a California business organization that is dedicated to improving the water quality of the coast, ocean, bay, rivers, and lakes.

Infinity loop

Blue LOOP Recycling partners with clothing companies to recycle their waste fabric and worn out clothing. Their philosophy is ‘Worn to Reborn’. Starting with jeans, they unravel the denim without using water. This removes the some of the 640 million pairs of jeans that end up in landfills in Europe every year. It also saves water needed to grow cotton for new fabric. They value transparency; therefore, they show an item’s origin, the percentage of recycled material, the environmental savings of water, CO2 and energy.

Bluesign

Bluesign® Technology traces each textile’s path along the manufacturing process – from factory floor to finished product. They work to lessen the environmental impact and Bluesign companies have a holistic approach to sustainable processing and manufacturing. In order to be Bluesign certified, a manufacturing facility must not only reduce greenhouse gases, but must also make an active contribution to climate protection.

Bluesign® Certified Manufacturing aims to have the lowest impact on the environment during production. Being certified “guarantees the application of sustainable ingredients in a clean process resulting in a safely manufactured product.” “The strictest criteria to protect the water, air and soil, as well as to reduce waste management, keep the environment intact for future generations.”

BSCI logo of sustainability organization

Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) is a European based organization that monitors for ethical sourcing. It is affiliated with the Brussels-based Foreign Trade Assocation (FTA). They don’t offer certification or accreditation, but help companies find accredited, experienced, and independent auditing companies to assist them in monitoring their supply chains for social compliance and how to make improvements in factories and farms.

California Transparency in Supply Chains Act was enacted to prevent slavery and human trafficking. It applies to retail sellers and manufacturers doing business in California. Companies must disclose their efforts to ensure that no links in their supply chain engage in slavery.

Canopy works with some of the largest customers of wood products to develop business solutions that protect last frontier forests. They help transform unsustainable product supply chains by encouraging executives to become champions for conservation and sustainability. They have worked with publishers such as Penguin-Random House and Scholastic, and leading clothing brands such as H&M, Stella McCartney, Target, Uniqlo, and Zara/Indeitex.

Carbon Fund.org mission is to “Reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” in an effort to fight climate change. They want to create a ZeroCarbon™ world by making it easy and affordable for any individual or business to reduce and offset their climate impact. They support third-part verified renewable energy and reforestation projects globally that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. They have created Carbonfree® Partner Programs that helps businesses calculate, reduce and offset their carbon footprint.

Carbon Neutral is an organization founded in 2002 to help companies reduce their costs while striving to reach carbon neutrality (calculating the carbon footprint and reducing it to zero through a combination of energy efficiency and external emission reduction or purchasing offsets.) This organization helps companies set goals, achieve them, and publicize their efforts. Certification guarantees that a company has measured and reduced their emissions to net zero. There is a 5 step process to become certified.

Climate Neutral certification is a standard earned by companies that offset and reduce all of their greenhouse gas emissions. The process for accreditation involves measuring all of the carbon emissions from making and delivering products and services to customers, purchasing carbon credits to completely offset their carbon footprint by funding projects such as reforestation or renewable energy, and finally, developing and implementing plans to reduce future emissions. In 2019 150 companies became Climate Neutral Certified, accounting for the measuring and offsetting of 228,314 tons of carbon.

Clean Clothes Campaign’s mission is to improve working conditions in the global garment industry. This global network, made up of more than 230 organizations, was founded in 1989 to ensure that the fundamental rights of workers are respected. They educate and mobilize consumers, lobby companies and governments, and directly support workers as they fight for their rights and demand better working conditions. They bring together NGOs and trade unions. Some of the cause they fight for are women’s rights, consumer advocacy, and poverty reduction.

Conservation Alliance, founded in 1989, is a collective a companies whose annual membership dues are disbursed to grassroots environmental organizations that protect wild habitat and outdoor recreation. The Alliance has grown from the 4 founders: REI, Patagonia, The North Face, and Kelty, to include more than 250 members. Their disbursements will be more than $2 million in 2020. Their results are impressive: 73 million acres of wildland saved, 3,575 miles of river, 35 dams prevented or removed, designation of 5 marine reserves, and the purchase of 17 climbing areas.

Direct Trade refers to companies who have connected farmers with the manufacturers of their product; eliminating as many of the intermediary steps as possible. They believe that they go beyond Fair Trade because they are not dependent on grants or fines, but on “really sharing the value created by the product sold by the company.”

Earth Matter is a New York based non-profit whose goal is to reduce the organic waste misdirected into the garbage stream by encouraging neighbor participation and leadership in composting.

EcoCert is a 30 year old organization that certifies sustainable products, systems, and services that meet their rigorous standards. By obtaining an Ecocert certification, a company can highlight their environmentally friendly and socially conscious practices. Although based in Europe, they conduct inspections in over 80 countries, making it one of the largest organic certification organizations in the world. They evaluate whether a company: communicates in a transparent manner the authenticity of their commitments, they improve the efficiency and reliability of their organization, ensure trust with their stakeholders and consumers, and access new national or export markets. Their certifications include: Fair Trade, GOTS, Ecological & Recycled Textile Standard (ERTS), and organic farming. There is a 5 step process to become certified, and ongoing audits. For a full listing of their certifications see site.

Fabscrap is a non-profit recycling program based in New York City. They pick up and recycle fabric scraps from manufacturers and designers and re-distribute them to students, artists, crafters and other designers for reuse. Smaller scraps that can’t be used for new items are converted into insulation. They also research and utilize new fiber-to-fiber recycling technologies when possible. Some of their current clients are Eileen Fisher, Nautica, and Mara Hoffman.

Fair Labor Association is a collaborative non-profit organization comprised of universities, civil organizations, and businesses whose mission is to promote adherence to national and international labor laws. They have been improving the lives of millions of workers world-wide since 1999. They create lasting solutions to abusive labor practices by offering resources, delivering training to factory workers and management, and conducting audits. Their site describes how companies ensure accountability and lists the brands that participate. Included are: Outerknown, Patagonia, and prAna.

Fair Trade Certified ™: Fair Trade is a global movement comprised of a diverse network of producers, companies, consumers, advocates, and organizations putting people and the planet first. Their seal guarantees that the product was made according to rigorous social, environmental and economic standards including: fair labor conditions, compensation, proper training, and reasonable work hours. There must be no human rights abuses such as: unsafe work environments, discrimination, harassment, abuse and child/forced labor. They are committed to sustainability, including The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, which promote prosperity while protecting the planet. The organization started with Nicaraguan coffee farmers.

The Fair Wear Foundation is a non-profit group, based in the Netherlands, that works with garment brands, workers, and influencers to improve labor conditions. They work internationally to support worker empowerment, improve conditions on the factory floor and provide living wages through training programs, performance checks and audits. Their stamp of approval guarantees that a company is working to improve current conditions rather than an indication of current conditions.

Forest Stewardship Council, (FSC) – ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests. It is the original pioneer of forest certification with 25 years of experience in sustainable forest management. They bring together experts from the environmental, economic, and social spheres. The Council ensures compliance with all applicable laws, the enhancement of all workers’ rights and employment conditions, Indigenous peoples’ rights, protection of local communities, the long-term viability of environmental and social benefits, conservation or renovation of forests, and to avoid, mitigate, or repair negative environmental impacts.

Global Fashion Agenda is a leadership firm that publishes an industry report on sustainable and ethical challenges in the fashion industry. Their “Pulse Score” shows how a company has improved its social and environmental performance in the preceding year.

Global Organic Textile Standards – GOTS certifies textiles that contain at least 70% organic fibers. All chemical additives, such as dyes, must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria. Fabric materials should be grown and processed “seed to shelf” without the use of chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, or even machine harvesting. There also must be a functional waste water treatment plant for any wet-processing used and all processors must comply with outlined social criteria.

Global Recycled Standard is an international, voluntary, full product standard that enumerates the requirements for third-party certification for: recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions. Companies that want to verify that the recycled content of their supplies and finished products meet these standards can go through the process to be certified. The GRS operates in 50 countries to verify ginning, spinning, weaving, knitting, dying, printing and stitching.

Green America Certified businesses are companies that: actively use their businesses as a tool for positive change, operate a “values-driven” enterprise according to principles of social justice and environmental sustainability based on the way they source, manufacture, and market their products and run their operations and facilities. They must also be socially equitable and committed to extraordinary practices that benefit workers, customers, communities, and the environment. They must show accountability and continual improvement. Transparency is fundamental, and they must accurately represent their products and service without greenwashing. One of their goals is to eliminate sweatshops. Green America has certified over 8,000 small businesses.

GreenStep’s purpose is to make sustainable business more profitable than business as usual. They provide consulting, software, and certifications to help businesses go green and to reduce their impact while saving them money and meeting the growing demand for responsible businesses. They can conduct energy, water, and waste audits, measure a corporate carbon footprint and make suggestions toward reducing it. They will also provide sustainability training and product life cycle analysis.

ISO Certification develops standards that are examined by third-party auditors that the management system, manufacturing process, service, or documentation procedures meet all the requirements for standardization and quality assurance. Certification provides proof of creditability and assurances that a company is audited and continually improving. There are several different certifications available, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

ISO 14001 requires an environmental management system that reduces their negative environmental impact and contribution to environmental sustainability. ISO 9001 requires that management systems will ensure that products meet all statutory regulations and are consistent. This certification is meant to enhance customer satisfaction.

Leather Working Group is a non-profit, international membership organization that develops and maintains protocols to assess the environmental compliance and performance capabilities of leather manufacturers. They promote sustainability for leather processors, traders, and manufacturers of leather goods. They assess and certify as bronze, silver, or gold, those manufacturers who meet their standards. They focus on the traceability of a product from the farm through to the end product.

The Made-By Environmental Benchmark for Fibres is a not-for-profit organization that compares the environmental impact of commonly used materials in the garment industry. It ranks 28 fibers based on greenhouse gas emissions, human toxicity, eco-toxicity, energy, water, and land usage. It is a division of the Common Objective (CO) a global tech company devoted to solutions for sustainable fashion businesses. Their technology simplifies and rewards best practices, turning sustainability from a cost into an opportunity.

NGO (Non-governmental organization) refers to nonprofit organizations that operate independently of governments. Its purpose is to address social or political issues.

Organic Content Standard is part of the Textile Exchange’s certification program. The Textile Exchange is a third party organization that independently certifies that each stop along the supply chain takes sufficient steps to ensure that the integrity and identity of the input material is preserved. They provide 3rd party verification for organic and organic blended materials.

OEKO-TEX® – Their Standard 100 and Made in Green labels are some of the best-known guarantees that textiles and/or leathers have been tested for harmful substances such as colorants, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and azo dyes. Customers can be confident that a high product safety standard is met and that the garment was manufactured using sustainable processes under socially responsible working conditions. Their site provides a very useful buying guide.

PETA grants the use of their PETA-Approved Vegan label to more than 1,000 companies that use vegan alternatives to animal-derived materials such as leather, fur, silk, feathers, or bone. The label can be used for apparel, accessories, furniture, or home décor.

SA8000 Standard (Social Accountability International) is the world’s leading social certification program that proves a company’s commitment to social accountability and ethical treatment of employees, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also takes into consideration continual management improvement and supply chain performance. Any industry, globally, can be SA8000 accredited.

SEDEX Supplier Ethical Data Exchange is a non-profit organization founded by a group of UK Retailers in 2001. They standardize high-level social audit standards and supplier monitoring practices. Not only have they standardized auditing practices, they have openly shared the audits of suppliers. Their goal is to promote and verify responsible, ethical business practices.

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. Regardless of the industry, they offer specialized solutions to make businesses faster, simpler, and more efficient. They offer a number of certification verifications including ISO and FSC. They will provide independent testing to ensure that suppliers meet health and safety standards, and fabric content and quality.

The Textile Exchange is a global nonprofit group whose mission is to positively impact the climate through accelerating the use of preferred materials across the global textile industry. They are a reference for manufacturers about which materials are sustainable and maintain a database detailing the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the progress that has been made toward reaching them. They offer the following certifications:

  • Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
  • Content Claim Standard (CCS)
  • Organic Content Standard (OCS)
  • Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)
  • Responsible Down Standard (RDS)
  • Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS)
  • Responsible Wool Standard (RWS)

USDA Organic means that agricultural products are grown and processed according to federal guidelines. Taken into consideration are: soil quality, pest and weed control, and the use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods as much as possible.

WRAP – The Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production organization is the world’s largest independent certification program focusing on apparel, footwear, and sewn products. Certification is premised on 12 Principles based on human rights. There are 3 levels: Platinum, Gold and Silver.

World Fair Trade Organization is global community of social enterprises that are committed to Fair Trade. They have a Guarantee System that verifies that their fair members are truly Fair Trade compliant by putting people and the planet first. The organization is run by their over 1,000 social enterprise and 1,500 shop members from 76 countries. They put the interests of workers, farmers, and artisans first. They directly impact 965,700 livelihoods through the operations and supply chains of the member enterprises. Pioneering projects include upcycling, refugee livelihoods, and women’s leadership.

Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals List (ZDHC)is the result of major apparel, textile, leather, and footwear brands and retailers committing to reducing the environmental impact of hazardous chemical usage in the manufacturing process, especially those discharged into waste water. Underwriters Laboratory offers certification for those who comply with the Manufacturing Restricted Substances List, as well as testing, training, and on-site assessment to companies who want to reduce their impact. The entire initiative is in response to Greenpeace’s Global Detox campaign. Chemicals included on the list that are common in the apparel industry include perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), phthalates, flame retardants, and the following dyes: azo, navy blue colorant, carcinogenic, and disperse (sensitizing) chemicals.

Fabric-Related Sustainability Terms

Fashion’s Eco-Friendly Organizations

1% for the Planet is a global organization that businesses can join by donating 1% of their sales back to the environment, regardless of their profitability. The group was created by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Matthews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, in 2002. The group funds diverse environmental organizations so that collectively they can be a more powerful source in solving the world’s problems. Individuals can also join the group by donating 1% of their salary. There are currently more than 3,000 members.

Better Work is a partnership between the UN’s International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation. They bring together governments, global brand, factory owners, unions, and workers to improve working conditions in the garment industry. They create lasting, positive change through assessments, training, advocacy, and research. Their goal is to influence policy and decision makers to improve working conditions. The organization operates in 9 countries and 1,700 factories, affects 2.4 million workers.

Center for Advancement of Garment Making empowers fashion professionals with a desire to build a transparent, circular, and regenerative industry. They value craft, equity, human life, and the planet. They offer master classes for those in the industry who want to educate themselves about sustainable fashion and help them build transparent, circular & regenerative businesses. Their master classes focus on craftsmanship, beauty, equity, human life, and the planet.

Clean Clothes Campaign is a global grass-roots network of mor than 230 organizations dedicated to improving working conditions and empowering workers in the global garment and sportwear industries. It was founded in 1989 and works to ensure that the fundamental rights of workers are respected. They work with trade unions and NGOs who are interested in issues such as women’s rights, poverty reduction, and consumer advocacy.

Fashion Forum Fellowship 500 is an invitation only group of fair trade organizations based in developing nations who have a passion for sustainability and fashion. Fellowship 500 was launched by the Ethical Fashion Forum in 2011. It looks for pioneers and innovators dedicated to working collaboratively towards sustainability.

Fashion Revolution is a global non-profit organization represented by The Fashion Revolution Foundation and Fashion Revolution CIC. There are teams in over 100 countries that campaign for reform in the fashion industry, specifically for greater transparency in the supply chain. They use #WhoMadeMyClothes as their call to arms. It became the number 1 global trend on twitter.

Fashion Transparency Index rates the 250 largest fashion brands and retailers and ranks them according to their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts. They look at 220 indicators of the company’s social and environmental topics such as: animal welfare, biodiversity, chemical usage, climate due diligence, labor issues such as working conditions, living wages or forced labor, freedom of association and gender equality, purchasing practices, supplier disclosure, waste and recycling. The 2020 Index is the fifth index published.

Good on You publishes brand ratings for sustainable and ethical clothing companies. They offer an app so you can assess brands as you shop. Their ratings are based on certifications, and the treatment of the planet, people, and animals. They also publish articles on sustainability and fashion trends.

Reclaim Collaborative is a group that wants to “build and foster an inclusive community of brands, content creators, and industry experts dedicated to dismantling systems of oppression across all aspects of the fashion and lifestyle ecosystem.” They help companies build an Affiliate Network.

Re/make is a community of designers and fashion professionals who believe that fashion can be a force for good. The group uses their purchasing power and creativity to empower women in the fashion industry. It is a non-profit organization interested in ethically responsible fashion and publish a directory of sustainable brands based on their attention to human rights, climate, water, and waste policies. They believe that individual actions can lead to enormous impact.

Re/make is a community of designers and fashion professionals who believe that fashion can be a force for good. The group uses their purchasing power and creativity to empower women in the fashion industry. It is a non-profit organization interested in ethically responsible fashion and publish a directory of sustainable brands based on their attention to human rights, climate, water, and waste policies. They believe that individual actions can lead to enormous impact.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition members are committed to measuring and improving social and environmental sustainability impacts. They represent over 250 member organizations in 35 countries. Among their most effective tools is the Higgs Index. It is a suite of tools that enables brands, retailers, and facilities to objectively and accurately measure and score a company or product’s social or environmental sustainability performance. They believe that the collaboration of joined forces can have a greater impact on the industry.

Sustainability Terms

Biodegradable material – a substance that can be decomposed or broken down as soon as possible.

Carbon Negative – refers to processes where the carbon footprint of production is less than neutral – the net effect of production is to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Regenerative agricultural practices are carbon neutral.

Carbon Offset or carbon credit is a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or other greenhouse gases. You purchase or pay someone else to reduce their carbon emissions or increase their carbon sequestration (plant trees) that will counter the carbon emissions that you create.

Circular Fashion is consciously designing clothing’s lifecycle to reduce the amount of waste and pollution through the process – including recycle/biodegrade/remanufacture vs. disposal. It is the antithesis of the traditional, linear take-make-dispose business model.

Climate Beneficial™ Wool is created when farm raised sheep sequester carbon back into the ground rather than sending it into the atmosphere. These farms actually reduce or eliminate their carbon footprint and create a beneficial impact on the environment.

Closed Loop Processing – The material waste that is produced during production is used to create addition products. To be truly closed loop, the garments made would be recycled at the end of their useful life to become the raw materials for new garments. The same raw material is used over and over, conserving natural resources and diverting waste from landfills and water-systems.

Cottonized Hemp is 100% hemp. There is no cotton utilized, but it looks and feels like cotton. It is specifically designed by Levi’s® so when it’s woven into fabrics like denim it looks and acts identically, but requires much less water, pesticides, and insecticides to grow.

Direct Trade companies form relationships directly with the suppliers of their raw materials, usually agricultural products. The manufacturer will trade directly with the farmer, rather than brokers. It is more common with coffee and tea traders. Some see it as an alternative to Fair Trade certification.

Durable Water Repellant (DWR) is a coating added to fabrics at the factory to make them water-resistant. They usually allow the fabric to remain breathable (i.e. Gore-Tex). Most are fluoropolymer based, although some manufacturers are finding sustainable alternatives.

Greenwashing is a term used in marketing and advertising to portray an organization’s products, activities or policies as environmentally friendly when, in fact, they aren’t

Laser washing eliminates the environmental impact of preparing denim and jeans. The process doesn’t use water, stones or sand to pre-wash the jean. Instead, a laser goes across the jeans and burns the “wash” or finish into them. The result is jeans that look distressed or vintage. Not only is it environmentally friendly, it is much quicker than traditional methods.

Made in the USA – for a product to be labelled Made in the USA, “all or virtually all” of the product’s parts, processing, and labor are of US origin. This is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission.

Mulesing-Free Wool – mulesing is the practice of removing strips of wool with some of the skin still attached to the nether-regions to prevent the parasitic infection of flystrike. Many people consider it a less humane way of shearing.

Organic Cotton Accelerator is a global organization committed to bringing integrity, supply security, and measurable social and environmental impact to organic cotton. They help farmers increase profitability and contribute to environmental sustainability. They are a support organization for organic cotton farmers.

Ozone Bleaching – Ozone is an inorganic compound composed of 3 oxygen molecules. It will degrade and bleach fabric by attacking the fabric. UV rays also lighten fabric, but by bleaching the dye. Ozone is a more sustainable bleaching method because excessive use of toxic chemicals aren’t used, and it is also less expensive for the manufacturers.

Pack4Good is one of the programs that Canopy sponsors. It is an effort to educate packaging users that much of the raw materials come from old growth, ancient, and endangered forests. They educate on alternatives using design (rethinking how much packaging is actually needed and can it be lighter, stronger, smaller, and reusable based on design), using recycled materials. or innovative next generation fiber options such as waste residue from wheat straw. Canopy provides an EcoPaper Database that lists more than 800 environmentally superior paper and paper packaging products.

PET – polyethylene terephthalate – the type of plastic used in water bottles.

PFC Free – free of per-and poly-fluorinated chemicals, which are commonly found in durable water repellant coatings. PFCs are manmade and harmful to the environment and can affect the health of the wearer. They are on the Restricted Substances List.

Responsible Packaging Movement, launched by prAna, to eliminate plastic, virgin forest fibers or those from endangered and ancient forests from its consumer packaging. Since its inception, other sustainable and ethical brands have joined the movement such as Mara Hoffman, Outerknown, Toad and Co., and non-profit partners 5 Gyres and Canopy.

RPET is short for recycled polyethylene tetraphyte (PET) or the plastic used in water bottles.

Restricted Substance Lists (RSL) helps companies meet regulatory requirements by listing chemicals that are not allowed by governmental regulations. The list for the fashion industry can be found on the American Apparel & Footwear Association’s site. Included on the list are dyes, pesticides, phthalates, solvents, metals, fluorinated greenhouse gases, and others.

Thread Count is determined by the number of threads woven together in a square inch. Both the warp (lengthwise) and weft (widthwise) thread are counted. The higher the thread count the denser the weave, and often, the smoother and more luxurious the fabric is.

Upcycling is creatively reusing or transforming products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products. Examples of upcycled waste materials is Econyl®, or reuse of clothing shown on Levi’s website.

Zero waste refers to the principle of creating a life cycle of a product so that all parts are reused or recycled. There will be no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. All resources are conserved through the responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials. There is no discharge into the land, water, or air to threaten the environment or human health.

Fabrics

Azo dye is a synthetic dye made up of two adjacent nitrogen atoms between carbon atoms or an organic compound with two nitrogen atoms between aryl atoms. They are used to treat textiles, leather goods, and even some foods. Azo dyes don’t degrade under natural environmental conditions, therefore, when wastewater is released from factories they become a pollutant to surrounding areas. Azo dyes are known to have carcinogens that cause cancer.

Cocona is a natural fabric enhancer made with activated carbon. It is created from waste coconut husks produce by the water filter industry. It helps fabrics resist moisture, control odor, and shield UV radiation.

Cupro (cuprammonium rayon) takes the waste from the cotton industry, or the cotton linter, and regenerates the cellulose fibers by placing it in a solution of copper and ammonia to dissolve the cellulose. The result is a fabric that is breathable and regulates temperature like cotton. It drapes elegantly and has a silky feel. While it takes dye easily, it also stains easily. It is often blended with viscose.

Econyl® – uses synthetic waste such as industrial plastic, waste fabric, and fishing nets from oceans to recycle and regenerate them into a new nylon yarn. They use a closed loop process to reduce water usage and waste.

EcoVero™ is another sustainable fiber developed by Lenzing™. It is derived from FSC and PEFC certified renewable wood sources using eco-responsible production processes that meet high environmental standards. All chemicals are recycled and used in closed loop processes. It takes 50% less energy and water consumption to make than conventional viscose.

Filium® is a breakthrough process for making fibers such as cotton, wool, silk, or linen water-, stain-, and odor-resistant. Clothes need to be laundered much less frequently. It also drastically reduces carbon emissions and pollution since there are no nanoparticles or harmful chemicals that can break down and leech into the skin or the environment.

Luxe is made from extra-long staple cotton grown in the USA.

Lyocell™ – made from bamboo using recyclable, earth-friendly solvents.

Modal™ – is fabric made from beech tree pulp. It is a form of rayon.

Piñatex®is a leather-like material created from the waste leaves of pineapple plants. It is breathable and durable and can be used instead of leather and petroleum based faux leathers. It is manufactured by Ananas Anam in the Philippines – a Certified B Corp. The fabric uses only waste products in a closed loop manufacturing process. It also provides a secondary source of income for farmers.

Repreve® is the leading branded performance fiber made from recycled materials, including almost 24 billion plastic bottles so far. Their process embeds properties such as wicking, adaptive warming and cooling, and water repellency. Recycling reduces detrimental results of using new petroleum by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving water and energy from processing.

Supima Cotton is a soft and durable long staple cotton. It makes up less than 1% of all cotton grown in the United States.

Tencel™ – made from sustainably harvested eucalyptus wood pulp using recyclable, earth-friendly solvents.

Refibra™ – upcycles cotton scraps from garment production. The scraps are transformed into cotton pulp to be respun.

Tasc is a performance fabric created from bamboo viscose. It controls moisture and heat, reduces odor, and is UV 50+ protective. It is sustainably made.

Viscose is a manufactured material made from processed wood pulp, usually from beech, eucalyptus, or bamboo. The cellulose fibers are dissolved in a chemical solution and spun into a yarn. Viscose can be sustainable when the solvents are non-toxic and used in a closed-loop system and the wood comes from sustainably harvested, non-old-growth forests.

ZQ Merino Wool is the world’s leading ethical wool brand.

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