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By Wunderlabel on 05/29/2024

History of clothing labels

History and Evolution of Fabric Clothing Labels

The very interesting history of clothing labels began in the USA with the rise of the fashion industry, technology and the quest for superior quality and a clear brand identity. Clothing labels are indispensable companions for brand identification and for providing practical information such as size and care instructions. Let us take a look at how these labels have evolved over time.

Industrialisation and Mass Production (18th-19th Centuries)

The Industrial Revolution changed the way clothing companies manufactured their apparel. Mass production made it possible to produce large quantities of textiles at low cost. At the same time, the need for branding increased. Merchants attached printed and woven labels, which became an essential part of clothing to indicate brand and quality.

Distribution of Textiles and Clothing in the 20th Century

In the 1940s, clothing and textiles were in very short supply in the USA. The government rationed them to ensure a fair distribution of limited resources. During the Second World War, clothing labels became increasingly important.
They helped authorities monitor compliance with rationing rules and helped standardize and regulate the manufacture and consumption of textiles. 
Labels provided information about the brand and size of garments, as well as the material composition, which was important for controlling the availability and use of raw materials. 
After the Second World War, mass production of clothing increased. This also increased the demand for standardized labels as consumers wanted more information about their clothing. Like fashion trends in the 1960s, clothing labels became more colorful and eye-catching. Not only did shoppers want individuality, but brands also began to differentiate themselves. They placed their logos and brand names on the labels to make them instantly recognisable.

Clothing Labels - Legislation

In the 1960s, legislation was introduced in the USA to regulate the use of labels on clothing. These laws specified what information had to be included on the labels, such as care instructions, product origin and material composition. 
At the same time, international standards were developed.

The Rise of Textile and Fashion Brands

The 20th century saw a boom in the fashion industry with the emergence of major brands and high-end fashion designers. Textile companies used brand labels to symbolize style and prestige. Fashion houses such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci made clothing labels an important part of their branding strategy to stand out in a highly competitive market and emphasize their status.

Technological Innovations in the Textile Industry (late 20th Century to Today)

Advances in printing and weaving technology allowed companies to make clothing labels more varied and personalized. Today, they can be equipped with barcode scanners and RFID technology to help track inventory and improve the shopping experience. Modern companies like Wunderlabel offer custom labels that are tailored to the exact needs of their customers. From custom designs to innovative materials, there are a variety of ways to create fabric labels today. 
Label manufacturers are taking customer needs seriously and have optimized their products accordingly. They take into account the different ways in which individuals wear garments and how brands prefer to attach their fabric labels, and adapt the tags accordingly. For example, they are investing in special folding machines to produce folded textile tags.

Sustainability and Ethics in the Production of Custom Labels (21st Century - Present)

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the fashion industry. Clothing manufacturers are also putting a lot of emphasis on environmentally friendly materials and technologies in the production of clothing labels.
Nowadays, informative clothing tags make a significant contribution to transparency and sustainability in the fashion industry. They let the wearer know about the impact that their chosen garment has on the planet:  Environmental and ethical standards, such as the use of environmentally friendly materials, fair working conditions and sustainable manufacturing processes. Initiatives such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or the Fair Trade seal are examples of how tags are used today. They promote responsible purchasing decisions and steer the fashion industry towards greater sustainability. As such, the evolution of labels is a living example of how small details can make a big difference in the fashion industry.