Relabeling garments

From my mail:

I had a question regarding relabeing. I was wondering if it is legal to buy clothing that some other company designed wholesale, change the clothing-(add or take away from the apparel) and relabel the piece with your own labels.

I was just curious about the legal aspects of it. Cause I buy wholesale clothes, but sometimes I don’t like the way it looks. I’ll add a ribbon or change the buttons. Is it legal to relabel the apparel with your own labels when you have purchased it wholesale through a different company?

Yes, it is legal within given parameters. However, there are strict guidelines governing the practice. You should probably review Threading Your Way Through the Labeling Requirements Under the Textile and Wool Acts (listed in the left side bar as RN & Labeling Requirements).


The regulations require that you include the following information on your labels:
1. The fiber content and the fabric’s country of origin
2. The country of origin (where the item was manufactured)
3. The name or business responsible for marketing or handling the item.

If you will be relabeling the items, you have additional responsibilities. First, you must leave the fiber content, its country of origin and the country of manufacturing origin as you got it. Even if you are restyling the garment -many tee shirt producers fall in this category- you cannot change the country of manufacture to reflect your location. This cannot change. If you change either of these two elements, you would be guilty of violating the Textile Act.

What you can change is the RN number and/or the business name responsible for it -namely you. However, if you remove any label containing required information, you must keep records on file for 3 years showing from which company the product came.

Another thing. If you are relabeling, you are required to comply with the same regulations as was the original manufacturer. For example, the country of origin must be prominently displayed on the front of the label. The fiber content and your name may appear on the back of the label; these are not required to be on the front. If you’re placing some of the required information on the back of the label, the label can only be attached on one side so that the consumer can read the back of it easily.

You may consider reading this handy guide: Writing a Care Label: How to Comply with the Care Labeling Rule (from the FTC manual for business). Another source you may find useful is Writing Labels for Textile Products.

Lastly, no one is required to get an RN number but I recommend it. It doesn’t cost anything. You can file an application here.

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15 comments

  1. Erica says:

    I have a question regarding relabeling practices as well: If you purchase merchandise wholesale and you don’t alter the goods at all and maintain all existing labels, can you then legally place your label on them to sell under your business? A company is offering me the option to place my label on their product for me but the minimum order is too high but I can afford to order their minimum without their labelling services. I wanted to get feedback before I ask them directly. I didn’t want to offend them.

  2. Grfuel says:

    My relabling question is slightly different than the others I’ve read on this site.

    We do not deconstruct any of the wholesale garments we purchase. We merely screenprint and embroider them.

    My question is…If the garments we buy already have a second label that contains the sizing, country of origin and care instructions, can we simply sew our own label over that label? As long as we keep the size and COO information from the second label visable?

    Also, do I have to have my own RN number if I’m simply sewing in a label with my logo?

    Thanks,
    Gr fuel

  3. Stan G. says:

    I stumbled onto this site while searching for a wholesale distributer that offers relabeling services on the garments they sell or a company that does relabeling on garments in the New Jersey / New York area.( I’m in NJ ) My need is mostly for T-shirts, Tank tops, and womans camisole tanks and my qaunities are in the 144 -288 pc per order range.To date I’ve only found one company to offer what i need but unfortunately theyre in Colorado so the shipping costs are insane.If anyone could help me out here it would be greatly appreciated. Thank You. Stan G.

  4. Robert says:

    I am new to all this. I kinda stumbled into a buyer position with a new boutique and am in need of assistance from how to develope a distribution deal on down to labeling.

    I guess my first question is…

    I have found a wholesaler and potential designs that I would like to sell, but I want put the boutiques label on the clothes. I understand that it “should” be legal, but where do I get that type of service done?

  5. Doug says:

    I work for a company that offers label changing, apparel refurbishment, embroidery, packaging, inspections as well as other servies tailored to the apparel business. Our website is DDI Logistics.COM and we are located in Virginia.

  6. Crista says:

    I just don’t understand how that is still allowed, that you are able to rename as long as you keep the fiber content, manufacturing content, and country of origin. Is that because you have already purchased it from the supplier, so it’s considered your property at that point?

  7. Harper says:

    Okay I now have a headache from reading the FTC’s page about all this http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus21-threading-your-way-through-labeling-requirements-under-textile-and-wool-acts#covered Typical .Gov gobbledygook contradicts itself repeatedly.

    Do I need an RN# at all if I’m doing under 100 pieces myself, no outsourcing whatsoever, not made of wool (or dogs and cats?!?), and selling inside the US?

    The 2nd label with all the info is the easy part!

  8. Kathleen says:

    An RN is free and you can get it online so what will it hurt to have one? Either way, you have to comply with the labeling act.

  9. K Mattu says:

    As far as we are concerned in the UK care instructions, sizing, and fabric content must be displayed, therefore you can change a brand label without being held liable to any brand as long as the wholesaler has produced the garment with the intention of it being decorated and re-branded.

    Crista – alot of wholesaler will manufacture with the intention of selling it to printers/embroiders to decorate and re-brand, obviously if you try rebrand a versace t-shirt it is illegal and chances are you will be prosecuted.

  10. Mark says:

    If you re-label T-shirts with the correct fiber content, country of origin, care instructions, and company name, but use the t-shirt manufactures RN# instead of getting your own RN # is that violating the rules?

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