Green Glossary



Acid wash – a non-ecofriendly denim bleaching technique, employing pumice stones and bleach; also called moon or marble wash
Advanced Denim – a sulfur dyeing process used for denim; contains no indigo
Aniline – an organic compound considered the “mother molecule” of indigo ; has
been classified by the EPA as a Group B2 probable human carcinogen
Antimony – a toxic heavy metal used worldwide as a catalyst worldwide in polyester fiber processing


BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) – a sustainable, technology-neutral cotton initiative


CmiA (Cotton made in Africa) – a sustainable cotton initiative that relies entirely on rain-fed irrigation


Downcycling – turns recycled garments into products of lower quality and value, e.g. denim into car insulation


Evru – chemically recycled cotton scraps


Higg Index – a standardized supply chain measurement tool assessing brands, retailers, products and manufacturing facilities; developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)


Indigo – a blue dye; natural indigo is extracted from indigo-bearing plants, synthetic indigo is produced in the lab; both require reducing agents, since the dye is insoluble in water: with some exceptions, natural indigo does it with bacteria via fermentation, synthetic indigo with sodium hydrosulfite


Modal – man-made, cellulosic fiber


Laser – an eco-friendly substitute dry processes in denim production, which include sandblasting, brushing, whiskering, or grinding to create cuts, tears and scratches
Lyocell – man-made, cellulosic fiber


Organic cotton – sustainable cotton that rejects entirely the use of synthetic chemicals and GMOs
Ozone – an eco-friendly substitute wet processes in denim production, which comprise dyeing, bleaching and washing


PLA (polylactide polymer) – a bio-based substitute for polyester, e.g. Ingeo
PP (potassium permanganate) – a harmful chemical used to bleach denim
Pre-reduced indigo – a synthetic indigo that uses significantly less sodium hydrosulfite
PTT (poly trimethylene terephthalate) – a bio-based substitute for polyester, e.g. Sorona®


Refibra – a new generation of Tencel® made from left-over cotton scraps
Re:newcell – fiber made of cast-offs with high cellulosic content (i.e. cotton, lyocell and viscose)
Recycling – mechanical recycling chops up fiber and spins it into new, e.g. Repreve by Unifi; in chemical recycling textiles are connected, broken down via solvents and re-spun into new ones without any loss in quality, e.g. Eco Circle by Teijin


Sandblasting – the use of abrasive sand containing silica to create worn-in effects on denim
Selvedge – a durable type of denim with clean, self-binding edges that do not fray
Sodium hydrosulfite – a harmful reducing agent used extensively in indigo dyeing
Stonewashing – a non-eco-friendly denim bleaching technique, employing pumice stones and sometimes combined with bleach to produce higher contrast called acid, moon or marble wash
Sustainability – “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (UN); comprises ecological, economic, and social factors


Tencel®– lyocell fiber manufactured by Lenzing in a close-loop system employing sustainably sourced wood pulp
Transparency – knowledge of the entire supply chain, e.g. who did it, what’s in it, how much did it cost?


Upcycling – turns one product into another product of equivalent value, e.g. scraps of discarded denim into a collection of desirable fashion