Labels You Need For Your Apparel Products

The garments you sell need labels. Labels are how you brand your product, provide important information to the customer, and meet legal requirements. They are a small detail, but have a big impact. Let’s talk about when and what labels you need for your garment.  

When you need labels

Fit samples during the development process don’t always contain labels, but once the design and pattern are finalized, production garments all need them. Labels are often one of the first things that get sewn in a garment and can hold up production if they’re not ready in time. I always recommend starting to design your labels early – even as you are designing the garment. 

New businesses can design their labels even as they design the rest of their branding like their logo, colors, and website. Your company name and logo can guide your aesthetic label choices.

What labels you need

There are three main types of labels for apparel products – brand labels, size labels, and care & content labels.

Brand labels

Brand labels or main labels are the ones with your company name or logo on them. They make your products immediately recognizable. You’ll often find brand labels placed in the inside back neck of tops, dresses, and outerwear or on the inside back waistband of pants and skirts. They are easy to see on a hung garment, but hidden when the garment is worn. 

Some products will have the company logo in an additional place on the outside of the garment to make it even more visible. You’ll see this on the outside back shoulder, front hip, underband or waistband of sporty styles, or on the outside back waistband on jeans. Small “flag” labels with additional branding are sometimes placed on garment hems. 

Brand labels are usually a separate component that gets stitched on or into the garment, but they can also be printed, heat set, or embroidered directly to the garment. The style of label depends on the garment, fabric, design, and price point.

Size labels

Size labels help your customers find what size they need. They are less for marketing and more for communicating information. Size labels can be a separate label or the size can be incorporated into the main brand label itself. 

Size labels should be in a place that is easy to see when the product is on display in a store. They are often placed next to or below the main label in the back neck or waistband. 

Care, content, and country of origin labels

Care and content labels contain all the details and fine print about the garment. There is a lot of information that goes onto care and content labels and some of it is legally required. The care label tells the customer what they are getting and how they can take care of it. This helps them make an informed purchase and lets them know what to expect. 

Care labels are usually placed in the inside side seam of a garment. They are easy to find for the customer to see before purchasing and easy to reference when the garment needs to be washed.

Care labels must include this information:

  • The fibers the garment is made of (all fabrics)
  • The country of origin (where the material was made and where the garment was constructed)
  • The manufacturer RN number (or legal business name of your brand)
  • How to wash and dry the garment for optimal results (text with or without the symbols)

Be mindful of how you label and market your products and their origin. There are strict rules as to what constitutes a made in the USA product. Make sure your product adheres to the requirements before marketing and labeling your garments with a made in USA label.

For more information on the legal requirements and rules for labeling garments being sold in the United States, visit the Federal Trade Commission website. (Helpful pages about labeling here and here.)

The care label sometimes includes the garment size as well, but that is not required. You can add additional information or notes to your care labels as well if you want. I know some brands that add a small poem or affirmation to their labels. 

Labels are a physically small component of the overall garment, but they are a very significant component. They give you the opportunity to create a lasting impression with your branding and communicate helpful information to your customers. They also tell your customers and the government what the product is made of.

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