Here is a glossary full of eco lifestyle terms and definitions. If one that you think should be on this list which currently is not, you can email me from the contact form.


Clothing swap – a meet or gathering where secondhand garments and accessories are exchanged. This could be anything from swapping clothes with your group of girlfriends to going to a swap organised by a small company.

Conscious fashion – The idea of being mindful about the choices you make when it comes to clothes and accessories. Is there a better way I could be washing this? Who made my clothes? Where did this garment come from/ where was it produced?

Carbon footprint – refers to the amount of greenhouse gasses generated in order to support specific activities. For instance, buying groceries from a supermarket involves not only the greenhouse gasses generated by your trip to and from the supermarket but also those generated by the farming, reaping, processing, packaging, and transporting the grocery items to the supermarket.

Conscious Consumerism – The way we as conscious consumers let spend our dollar, and vote for the kind of world we want with it. We are a consumer-driven society and one of the most positive changes we can make is being a conscious consumer which means you make thoughtful buying decisions and focus on moral purchasing choices. Eg: the decision to buy “green.”


Eco fashion – Eco fashion covers organic and recycled fashion. It refers to all clothes and accessories which were/are produced in an environmentally conscious way where people, animals or the environment are not impacted in the production process.

Ethical fashion – This totally covers clothes and accessories that are socially and environmentally conscious, although the focus is on the entire process. This is from design to production and finally retail. Ethical fashion addresses issues like labor exploitation, animal welfare and environmental damage.


Fairtrade –  the producers/farmers are negotiated a fair price for a product through a trading partnership. This really aims at reducing poverty. Fairtrade Standards and principles apply for the producers and the companies whom trade Fairtrade products.

Fast fashion – This is the opposite to slow fashion. It refers to clothing collections that are copied straight from the catwalk and then manufactured at an accelerated rate (which is increasing) and sold at a cheap price so people like you and me can wear trendy and inexpensive clothes. Often the labourers are working 12-14 hours a day being paid 50-100 dollars a month!!!

Flea Market – often an outdoor market where you can buy used products, clothing and accessories.


Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) – The term GMO refers to animals or plants whose genetics have been modified to suit the ‘needs’ of our society. Often done in hopes of creating positive traits such as disease resistance or to create more robust crops, much of the long-term results of genetically modifying food, for instance, is negative.


Organic fashion – This refers to garments and accessories produced with minimal or no use of chemicals. An organic cotton t-shirt is an example of organic fashion.


Recycled fashion – New garments made from trash or used materials (ex. plastic bottles) or second-hand clothes. A fabulous example of this would be Baiia, the gorgeous brand turning oceanwaste and ghost fishing nets into bikinis.

Re-design – Re-designing clothes is when you alter a garment, It can be something from turning denim jeans into a bag or as simple as cutting the length of a ‘to the floor’ orange dress and turning it into a skirt. Faye Delanty is a great Re-designer and I love her style when it comes to doing so.


Slow fashion a term introduced by sustainable design consultant Kate Fletcher in 2008.  Quality rather than quantity is valued in slow fashion. It is the opposite of the fast fashion industry (see definition above), and is about consumers being aware or mindful about the process behind a product.

Second-hand clothes – Second-hand clothes are garments used with one previous owner.

Sustainable fashion – This can go along with many other names like eco fashion, ethical fashion and slow fashion. It refers to the way we use our natural resources today so there will be ‘something left’ for future generations. In relation to fashion, this refers to clothing that has a lower impact on our planet and also takes into consideration the conditions in which it was made and how those people are treated. Eg: fair wages.


Thrift store – a shop that sells second-hand goods, usually the money goes to charities.

Third-hand clothes – Garments used with two previous owners.


Upcycling – turning low-quality clothes or products into new ones with better quality, or to make them ‘your style’.