The information required on clothing labels is governed under two separate laws established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Textile and Wool Acts require that labels contain three pieces of information pertaining to the garment: fibre content, country of origin, and manufacturer, importer or dealer. The Care Labeling Rule requires that care instructions for the garment also be revealed. There are specific parameters within each of the four required pieces of information.
Labels on clothing products covered by the Textile and Wool Acts must disclose the fibre contents of the article in descending order of percentage, according to the FTC. Non-fibrous materials such as buttons and zippers do not have to be included. A five per cent rule is applied for fibres without functional significance to the garment. If nylon is added for durability (a functional significance) but the garment is only comprised of 4 per cent nylon, this must be disclosed; however, if several non-functional fibres are added, they can be written as a total percentage and labelled "other fibers." Trimmings and decorative items, such as braiding and belting, not exceeding 15 per cent of the garment, are exempt from labelling requirements. Ornamentation not exceeding five per cent of the garment is also excluded, but the phrase "Exclusive of Ornamentation" should appear after the percentages and fibres. Linings should be listed separately. Fibres should be referred to by their generic names.
The Textile and Wool Acts also require that clothing labels disclose the fabric's country of origin. A product can be labelled "Made in the U.S.A." only if it is made in the United States and is comprised of materials from the United States. If the materials used to make the garment were imported, it should be labelled "Made in the U.S.A. of imported materials."
Manufacturer, Importer or Dealer
Labels must also include the company name or registered identification number (RN) of the manufacturer, importer or other firm handling the product, according to the FTC. The FTC issues RNs to U.S. companies that manufacture, import or otherwise handle textiles. If the product is imported, the label may state the name of the manufacturer or the RN of the importer, wholesaler or retailer.
Under the FTC's Care Labeling Rule, garments must include labels that disclose care instructions for the consumer's benefit. These instructions must be complete and accurate to provide care for the life of the garment. If any harm could come to the garment, it should be noted. For instance, if a garment cannot be ironed, the label should state "Do Not Iron." Care labels should be clear and legible and durable enough to last the life of the garment.
All of the required labelling information can be included on one label or separate labels. Other information, such as garment size, can also be included on the same label as long as it doesn't detract from any required information. Fibre content must be listed using the same type size and style. Labels must be attached to the garment until it reaches the consumer. Any garment with a neck must contain the country of origin label on the inside centre or near centre of the neck. Other labels must be placed in conspicuous and accessible locations.