April 03, 2007

Designers hate care/content labels

I was shopping a week ago or so in one of my favorite discount stores, Ross Dress for Less. As I was working my way through the blouse rack, I noticed a significant problem with most of the blouses on the rack. The blouses did not have a proper notification of country of origin (I would of counted how many were not in compliance, but DH was getting bored). According to FTC recommendations, items with a neckline must have a label stating the country of origin at or near the inside centerback neck. These blouses only had a small brand label. A separate care label was attached to a side seam, with country of origin disclosed there.

I have read the FTC recommendations dozens of times and I am always surprised of the amount of non-compliance that exists in the marketplace. Some companies must be ignoring (or are ignorant) of the requirement. Further, many of the items in this store are imports. This means they had to pass custom inspections. I don't get it.

I follow the rules, and yet I have seen many designers insist they don't have to place a label at the back neck. After all, it is ugly and takes away from hanger appeal. If no one else is doing it, why should they. Children's clothing poses an additional challenge - there is only so much space in the back neck.

Here is a picture of an infant girl's dress. The label is correctly placed near the back neck. This placement requirement creates consistency across a broad range of products. Customers can know where to find basic product information. If I wanted to purchase Made in USA product, then it would be simple to find out.

It is only required that country of origin information be placed in a reasonable, accessible place (generally the back neck in items with a neck). Care information may be placed in a side seam, or elsewhere. Generally, children's items have the information combined on one tag. Think about your customers. Do you really want them to have to fish through an entire item of clothing to see where it was made and how it should be clean?


  1. While I am 100% for proper label information (country of origin, care instructions etc) as a customer I am completely against the label placement you describe (on the neckline.) The reason for that is that mostly all labels are made from cheap plastic scratchy material that irritate the skin. I am always amazed by how horrible these things are even on high quality clothing. If I am buying something made of silk, or 100% cotton, or cashmere and what not, I don't understand why I am stuck with the polyester scratching my neck. Putting that annoying thing somewhere else on the garment often makes things less annoying (like on the side.)...just my two cents...

  2. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Interesting stuff.

    This topic has implications to other labeling, too:


    Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. I can understand your point of view. Designers could try and find a less irritating label.

    The label placement at the back of the neck is only for the country of origin - so it does not have to be very big at all. All other information can be placed elsewhere.

  4. Of course labels can be removed after purchase if they are a source of irritation.