What’s the difference between ethical, eco-friendly and slow fashion?

I have seen these words and  similar all over  different websites, blogs, and clothing brands. I found some brands would market their products as being sustainable, others ethical, clean, fair trade, non-toxic etc… So what do all these words mean?

I looked at the most common words I was coming across which were definitely ethical, eco-friendly and slow fashion. From here I have come up with a few definitions which seem to fit them most closely. 


Ethical fashion has more of a focus on workers and animals rights. An ethical fashion label will put more emphasis on workers pay, safe working conditions, not using animal products (or only using animal byproducts from the meat industry), and ensuring their products are ethically sourced.

Just to confuse everyone even more, ethical fashion might not only be limited to workers and animal rights. Many ethical fashion labels will take a broader approach and take into account how their products impact the environment, often only using products from environmentally friendly sources. 


Eco-friendly, or sustainable fashion, put their emphasis on the environment and how their textiles impact the environment. They will use more environmentally friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, linen and hemp. These types of fabrics need little to no pesticides and grow quickly making them super sustainable.

Eco-friendly clothing brands may also recycle fabrics from old designs, or use dead stock fabrics to turn into new clothes.


Slow fashion leans  towards having a minimal wardrobe with high quality pieces that are not particularly on trend. These pieces stay in fashion season after season and last a long time. You might have seen capsule wardrobes on the internet which are really great examples of this. For example, a capsule wardrobe may have 30 items or less and you can mix and match each item.

What's the difference between ethical, eco-friendly & slow fashion?

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