Garment Labels 101

 Have you ever come across the following scenario? 

A: How you doing? That's a nice top you've got on. Is it new? 

B: Yeah, it's a gift from my sister. Not half bad is it? 

A: What make is it?

B: Don't know, have a look at the label… 

Well, you get the idea. Although garment label is such a small part of the garment in terms of size, it plays a big part in linking the brand to the garment. It is one of the primary tools for brand establishment and awareness. This article will give you a little insight into the different types of garment label and their unique qualities. There are in general 5 different types of garment labels, they are:

  • Woven Labels.
  • Embroidered Labels.
  • Leather Labels.
  • PVC/Rubber Labels.
  • Printed Labels.

Woven labels are in general woven with either cotton or polyester threads. Woven labels can be made with amazing details and has the lowest setup cost out of all of the garment label types. Due to the flexibility of the woven labels, it can be applied to different areas of the garment (see the article “Fold options for woven labels” and “How to choose the right weave for your garment woven labels” on our labels articles page for more information). Many high street brands have applied woven labels to unusual places to add distinctions to their pieces. Woven labels are the most consistent in quality due to the way they are made and have the fastest overall production rate (good to know when you needed something quick in a tight spot).

Embroidered labels are similar to woven labels in the sense that it also made from either cotton or polyester threads and the way they are weave. The threads used in embroidered labels are in general 4 to 5 times thicker, which means the pick per inch count is much lower, so embroidered labels are in general used with bolder designs which have fewer details. The thicker threads also give embroidered labels more structural integrity and a more 3D feel. The consistency of embroidered labels are slightly less than woven labels, because they are made individually, unlike woven labels which are made on rail. So each embroidered labels maybe slightly different (unnoticeable to the untrained eyes). This may lead to wastage if absolute perfection is essential. Leather labels are the most premium out of all 5 garment labels category.

Leather labels are strong and supple. It is often used on high end garments to highlight the quality and prestige of the brand. For real leather labels, they have a rich colour but do vary. So it is less consistent than woven labels and embroidered labels. However, part of the charm of natural material is each piece is unique. Designs are in general embossed or debossed onto the leather. Synthetic leather (aka pleather) labels are also very popular as well. The colour is much more consistent and the feel is very close to real leather, plus the raw material is cheaper than real leather. Real leather labels also have higher wastage due to the fact leather normally comes in irregular shape which means often the border areas are not used.

PVC/Rubber labels are often used on sports and adventure wear, because they are tough, and moisture resistance.  The texture and thickness makes it harder to attach to the garment, which means it will require more attention on the production process. Also the texture of the PVC label may affect the surface tension on the garment. So the base material of the garment needs to be adequately durable (i.e. don't sew a PVC label onto a linen suit). The setup cost is a bit higher, because the raw material needs to be mixed and baked into right colour and consistency. 

Printed labels are normally printed onto ribbons; it is similar to woven labels in feel, but less durable. It is often used for care labels. Because printed labels are not woven and the design only printed on the surface of the label, the design maybe washed out after 2 to 3 years, but the cost is low and it is suitable for fast fashion.

There are so much information about garment labels, it is hard to fit it all in one articles, but if there are any questions, don't hesitate to contact one of our expert for a chat.

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