Glossary of terms as they appear throughout the website




Circular Economy

A circular economy is an alternative economic system in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. When a product is designed for the longest use possible, and can be easily repaired, remanufactured or recycled (or used, composted and nutrients returned) we consider it to have a circular life cycle. A circular economy is fueled by renewable energy (eg solar, hydro, wind and tidal power, and biofuels). Adapted from source:

Co-Design Process

An approach to design attempting to actively involve all stakeholders (e.g. employees, partners, customers, citizens, end users) in the design process to help ensure the result meets their needs and is usable. Also known as ‘Participatory Design’. From source:


Collaboration is an active strategy of working together and sharing knowledge, resources and experiences between individuals, teams, and organizations to achieve a shared goal. In the context of fashion, pre-competition collaboration between micro, small and large players across all levels of the value chain is now considered a key enabler of the necessary systems change towards more sustainable ways of producing, communicating, selling, using and engaging with fashion in the future. From source:

Collectors & Aggregators

Organisations that undertake collection and aggregation activities for textiles at end-of-life. Collection refers to the process of receiving these textiles, via numerous collection points e.g. donation bins, in-store, kerb pick-up. Aggregation refers to the consolidation of the textiles at central locations where sufficient scale is achieved to enable sorting into textile types, grades, and to enable better recycling and repurposing options.

Craft of Use

The ability to draw a deep satisfaction from resourceful ways of wearing, repairing, re-making and looking after old and familiar clothes. Craft of use highlights that the current fashion system lacks a long-term perspective and ignores the connection between the making and use of clothing. From source:


The final (or more than short-term) deposit of waste into or onto land set apart for that purpose (landfill); or the incineration of waste.


The point at which a product ends its current useful life, and cannot be reused, repaired or repurposed. Potential destinations at this point include recycling, or disposal in a landfill (NZ default option).


The point at which a product is no longer useful for the user i.e. it is no longer wanted, or is no longer able to be used. Potential destinations at this point include reuse, repair or repurposing to enable an additional useful life, recycling, or disposal in a landfill (NZ default option)

Export Overseas

The process of shipping unwanted textiles (which still has utility value) offshore, typically to developing countries, where it is donated or on-sold. This practice is commonplace for clothing, and can significantly undermine the potential for local manufacturing.

Fast Fashion

A model of fashion production and consumption that relies on fast turnaround of styles and products with sales prices, often leading to lower durability and fast discarding of pieces, cumulatively resulting in extremely high social and environmental costs throughout the entire value chain. Adapted from source:

Garment & Product Manufacturers

Businesses that manufacture products from textiles e.g. garments, linen, curtains, carpets. The relative importance of the textile in the final product varies significantly depending on the product type e.g. textile comprises the majority of a garment, but is not the main material for a piece of furniture. Products are typically made well in advance of when they are sold in the market to Users.


The disposal of waste into land, covered by layers of earth, designated for that purpose. Landfills do not support circular economy concepts, and are the default destination for unwanted textile waste in New Zealand.

Linear Economy

Our current dominant economic system, which is based on the ‘Take-Make-Waste’ model where resources are extracted, used up and discarded without consideration of their end of life stage or the non-renewable sources of energy used.

Make it, Take it

The rising customer expectation that they can return their ‘End-of-life’ garments to brands and retailers who are ultimately responsible. a form of product stewardship (see ‘Product Stewardship’).

Product Stewardship

Product Stewardship is the act of minimising health, safety, environmental and social impacts, and maximising economic benefits of a product and its packaging throughout all lifecycle stages. The producer of the product has the greatest ability to minimise adverse impacts, but other stakeholders, such as suppliers, retailers, and consumers, also play a role. Product Stewardship is regulated in New Zealand within the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and is intended to:

‘encourage (and, in certain circumstances, require) the people and organisations involved in the life of a product to share responsibility for:

‘(a) ensuring there is effective reduction, reuse, recycling, or recovery of the product; and

(b) managing any environmental harm arising from the product when it becomes waste.’

The Waste Minimisation Act (2008) defines two pathways for product stewardship schemes: voluntary accreditation as a ‘Non-Priority Product’, and mandatory accreditation if declared to be a ”Priority Product’ Adapted from source:

Raw Materials

The material inputs into the textile manufacturing process. Raw materials can be derived from biological origins e.g. linen from flax, synthetic origins e.g. polyester from crude oil, or from earth minerals e.g. brass from copper and zinc mining


The physical or chemical conversion of end-of-life textiles into new materials. Recycling can be mechanical (resulting in lower quality material) or chemical (resulting in similar quality material). In practice, little recycling occurs in Aotearoa at present.


The reuse of a product via a rental business i.e. as a service, again or more than once in order to prolong its useful life, without any modification to the product.


The process of assessing which elements of a textile product are able to be repaired, and then conducting the repair to enable the product to continue to be used as intended. Repair prolongs the useful life of a product.


Modifying or adapting a textile product at the end of its useful life, in order to enable use for a different purpose than it was originally intended. e.g. making carry bags from old billboard posters


Also known as re-sale, an emerging area of the second-hand marketplace where businesses and individuals can buy and sell pre-owned fashion items through consignment, peer-to-peer and online platforms. From source:


A business (can be a brand) that sources products from suppliers, and sells them in the market via bricks-and-mortar and/or online platforms.


To use a product again or more than once in order to prolong its useful life, without any modification to the product. This can occur informally, peer-to-peer, and via rental businesses.

Slow Fashion

The opposite of ‘Fast Fashion’ – It refers to buying less, to reducing our consumption of clothes and focusing on things that will last longer. Slow Fashion focuses on timeless style rather than trends.


See ‘Linear Economy’

Textile Manufacturers

Businesses that manufacture textiles from yarns or threads (our grouping includes yarn manufacturers also). Includes a variety of textile manufacturing processes including weaving, knitting, crocheting, knotting , tatting, felting, or braiding. Typically high volume, specialised businesses.


A flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarns or threads, produced by spinning raw fibres (from either natural sources e.g. wool, silk, linen, cotton, or from synthetic sources e.g. polyester, rayon) into long and twisted lengths.Textiles are then formed by weaving, knitting, crocheting, knotting , tatting, felting, or braiding these yarns together. Adapted from source:


Transparency is a requirement for companies to take full responsibility for their entire supply chains and act on their accountability for the social and environmental practices at all stages of manufacturing of their products. ‘Traceability’ is a similar concept, but from a material and product perspective i.e. being able to trace the origin and manufacturing steps in a garment. Source:


The people who make use of products and services. The term differs from the commonly used ‘consumer’ as consumption of the product is not the primarly objective; rather it is the use and utility of the item that is the focus.

Value chain

The full range of activities needed to deliver a product or service – from raw materials through to product end-of-life. The Value Chain concept includes both ‘upstream’ activities i.e. supply chain, as well as ‘downstream’ activities i.e. customer use, recycling, disposal. By adopting this perspective a business (or user) can understand their role, and the roles of others, in improving environmental and social outcomes related to the product or service.

Waste hierarchy

A framework for establishing the order of environmental preference for different waste management options. There are typically 5 levels in the hierarchy (in order of preference): prevention, reuse, recycling, recovery (materials and energy), and finally disposal.