The below information has been produced for you, the consumer, to get a better understanding of the terms we use on The Rag Shop website and to help you make decisions regarding your purchases. This is by no means all the information available regarding the subject. This is is no way here to sway or pressure your decisions. This is in no way us promoting or lessening any other brands, this is just here to provide a reference point on these topics. This section of the website will likely be an on- going project that will be added to or amended as we learn more and as the world moves forward. Finally, we are certainly not the source of all knowledge on this topic and I urge you to conduct your own research in order to make decisions that reflect your values. 


It is our belief, that as domestic sewers making our own clothing, we are already taking a huge step in helping our environment and combatting the fast fashion industry. There are however, certain choices we can make that can take us that little extra step further. Sustainability & ethics are two different things, to put it simply, from my perspective at least:

  • SUSTAINABILITY- The environmental impact on our planet
  • ETHICS- The social impact on the supply chain

On our website, you may have already found our 'Sustainable Shopping' section. This section collates all our of fabrics that have a sustainable or ethical selling point. This includes; organic, Oeko-Tex certified fabrics, deadstock or ex- designer and fabrics labelled as ethically sourced, but what does that mean?

Organic- Organic fabrics can only be labelled as so if they have followed the 'organic' process from start to finish. This means no pesticides have been used, no artificial toxins or fertilisers either. May also be referred to as GOTS. A lot of our Mind The Maker fabrics are organic. 

Oeko-Tex- This is a governing body who certify that a fabric has not been made using any harmful substances. Other similar governing body's can be found but Oeko-Tex is the most common. 

Deadstock- When fashion brands whether it be designer or high street or boutique overproduce a fabric or it is dis-continued or not quite the right shade or whatever the reason choose not to use it, this fabric is often sold to re-sellers. This is a great way for the fashion industry to reduce waste and for you, domestic sewers, to often find amazing prints or textile bases. Using deadstock fabric is a great way to achieve homemade clothes that don't look homemade. A lot of our Pigeon Wishes fabrics are deadstock. 

Ethically sourced- This is a fuzzy one, when I talk about this term I am, for the moment, specifically talking about our Lady McElroy fabric that are part of their 'Go Greener' or BCI range. However, in the future I am hopeful we will have more fabrics stocked that can be labelled as ethical, but unfortunately this is a very difficult thing to control as it relates to what is happening overseas.  

In 2020, Lady McElroy took steps to improve the way they source their fabrics and the majority of their new designs or re- prints now follow their BCI Initiative. Please see below for full details. 

McElroy Fabrics and Lady McElroy is committed to going greener with its choice of cotton  fabrics i.e. the BCI scheme (Better Cotton Initiative). The Better Cotton Initiative is a non profit organization that promotes sustainable cotton production, covering all three pillars of  sustainability: environmental, social and economic. 

The Better Cotton Principles and Criteria lay out the global definition of Better Cotton, by  upholding the following seven principles: 

BCI Farmers minimise the harmful impact of crop protection practices 

BCI Farmers promote water stewardship 

BCI Farmers care for the health of the soil 

BCI Farmers enhance biodiversity and use land responsibly 

BCI Farmers care for and preserve fibre quality 

BCI Farmers promote decent work 

BCI Farmers operate an effective management system 

McElroy Fabrics and Lady McElroy care for the welfare of people and cultural diversity,  along with responsible conditions which help to protect our planet.  

McElroy Fabrics and Lady McElroy are also committed suppliers of fabrics which hold Oeko Tex certification. More information about this can be found at https://www.oeko tex.com/en/our-standards/standard-100-by-oeko-tex