Outdated Clothing Labels and Legislation?

The current requirements for what garment labels need to include are:

  1. Fiber content

  2. The country of origin (this is where the garment is sewn and doesn't account for where the fibers originate or where it is dyed)

  3. Manufacturers dealer identity

  4. Care instructions

Why is this what is required for our garments and not other information?


Legislation!


When we want something to change, legislation has to be passed. Garment labels are monitored by the Federal Trade Commission. There are two key pieces of legislation that were passed. It is important to think about why these pieces of legislation came to be.


  1. 1938 The Wool Products Labeling Act "truth in fabrics law"

  2. 1960 Textile Fiber Products Identification Act


  • Wool legislation was because virgin wool manufacturers were competing with shoddy wool manufacturers mislabeling their lower quality product.

  • The textile fiber act was passed during a time of expanded use of man-made fibers (synthetic). It states that the fibers must be identified and named.


These measures were passed to 1. hold companies accountable and monitor that they accurately advertised their product and 2. to protect consumers from the fibers they are wearing.

This legislation was a logical and necessary part of the growing body of legislation to protect the consuming public in the field of food, drugs, meat inspection and honest weights and measures - FTC Commissioner


It has been 60 years since updated labeling requirements have been passed. Isn't it time for an update?



The last legislation was passed before the internet existed, before people had at home computers, before the creation of the EPA, prior to the civil rights movement, before China entered the World Trade Organization, and before fashion become a globalized interconnected mess.

Now clothing is shipped to another location at every step with the raw fibers shipped to be processed, those then shipped for dyeing, sent again for cutting and sewing, shipped again for retail, and shipped again for disposal.


The moral of the story is that we have changed a whole lot in the past 60 years!


Don't you think how the FTC monitors our clothing

should also be different?


We now know that wearing man-made fibers causes micro-plastic pollution

  • Wouldn't it be great if manufacturers needed to list this as a side effect on the label?

  • We know that man-made fibers should be washed with filters to reduce micro-plastics in water ways. Shouldn't that be on the label?

We now know that wearing man-made fibers can be toxic to our human health

  • Wouldn't it be great if manufacturers had to indicate on the label the human health risk of wearing the garment?

It is estimated that 27% of the weight of a natural garment is chemicals and more for man-made fibers.

  • Shouldn't the main chemicals in the garment be listed on the tag?

We now know that child and enslaved labor is common practice in the textile industry.

  • Shouldn't including a standard of wage living need to be included on the label?

We know that companies are saying that their clothing is sustainable without actually backing that up!

  • Isn't it time to make GREENWASHING a crime?


YES TO ALL IS THE ANSWER


For too long the government and companies leave it up to the consumer to dig through a companies claims on their product. Indicating their sustainability claims, chemical use, and ethics should be a requirement!


What can you do?

FA is committed to bringing about change! If you want to help in starting a petition to get this issue noticed and demand new legislation on clothing labels send us a DM or email to fashionanonymousgroup@gmail.com and we will start this movement!



References

https://otexa.trade.gov/us_labeling.htm#:~:text=In%20general%2C%20textile%20and%20apparel,identity%2C%20and%20the%20care%20instructions.


https://pubs-acs-org.ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/doi/full/10.1021/acs.est.7b00701