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Clothing manufacturers in the USA are required to put tags and labels on their products. It’s been this way for so long, so most people don’t stop and think about where these labels actually came from, and why they’re there in the first place. Many people find tags annoying and uncomfortable and end up cutting them off and throwing them in the trash. Despite this, textile tags remain a requirement, and they have a very interesting history. Read on to learn more about clothing labels, and why they actually reveal very little, if anything, about the fabric you’re buying and wearing!

Labor Unions

Today, consumers usually recognize brand labels on their tags, whether it’s a discount retailer or high-end fashion house. However, long before society became obsessed with brand names, labels were seen as an opportunity for labor unions to showcase their strength. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, labor groups used recognizable labels on the inside and outside of clothing to show off their style and quality. This originally came from cigar-makers in 1874, as they placed similar labels on their products to show they were premium. Clothing factories in the U.S.A caught on to this tactic and began using labels as a branding strategy. The International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) was a prime example. Even in the ’70s and early ’80s, when the clothing brand came out with television commercials, the ads contain a little jingle saying, “Look for the Union Label.”

Brand Names

It’s no secret that custom clothing manufacturers in the USA are focused on selling as much merchandise as possible and drawing customers in with brand names and attractive labels. However, the tag on your clothes really doesn’t tell you that much about the fabric, as it only reveals the bare minimum about the production process and focuses more so on the company that made it. If you’re really curious about the details of where, when, how and why your garments were made, it’s best to use your label as a starting point and move from there. Using the brand name and materials, from “100% cotton” or “50% wool,” you can delve deeper into a company’s history of manufacturing and where they source their materials. There’s more than meets the eye when you see a clothing tag, that’s for sure!