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Fashion Brands Need to License Care Labels

Most manufacturers include a number of care labels on their clothes to tell consumers that the garments meet certain standards. Let’s understand what instructions must go into Care Labels.

These labels include the washing instructions (care labels) you see when you read that your lovely new knitwear, after it has emerged from the washing shrivelled and discoloured, should have actually only been hand washed at precisely 24.7 degrees by a Benedictine Monk before being dried slowly over a naked flame and beaten by a club.

What you might not know is that these logos are actually a type of trademark called “Certification Marks.” These marks provide a guarantee that the goods or services bearing the mark meet a certain defined standard or possess a particular characteristic.

The owner of the mark will generally define what that standard or characteristic is. But as these marks are owned by other people, you will often have to pay for the privilege to use them. Generally, this is done by paying a licence fee.

Care Labels

Care labels detailing washing instructions are some of the most important labels for fashion businesses to include on their clothes because most people know what they mean. In order to include them on your garments, you will need to pay a licence fee to the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT), the UK representative of Ginetex that owns most of the main care marks.

A licence can be obtained in conjunction with membership to UKFT. The price you pay depends on the turnover of the company: for small businesses with turnover under £250,000 it is £500 per year, and this increases with turnover up to a maximum of £6,250. A licence will give you the right to use the care labels worldwide.

If you are only selling in the UK you do not need permission to use the care symbols, as the marks are not registered in the UK.

Other Considerations

You should be aware that there are different regulations in different parts of the world around what type of label you need to include on your clothes.

For example, in the EU all clothes must state the composition of the fabrics and must include detail of how to care for the garments. So, before you start selling into a new market, make sure to research what the requirements are, what marks you could use to help consumers, and whether these marks require you to obtain a licence to use them.

Related reading: The Importance of Fashion Care Instruction Cards