What are care labels?
Care labels, you know, those itchy pieces of fabric on the inside of your clothing. Is it me or have they become less itchy over the years? Either way, they are like a nutrition label for clothing, and today we’ll discuss why it’s important to look at them before, and after you buy your clothes.
Some labels contain funny jokes, others give you a free course of Japanese on the back of them, but they all have to tell you something. In this blog, we're giving you a short introduction in care labels, so the next time you come across one, you’ll be able to brag to your friends about your new knowledge.
Where do your clothes come from?
Brands are required to put the country where the last part of production took place on the care label. However, they don’t have to put the country on where the material was dyed or knitted for example. Since these processes usually happen in a lot of different counties, that's a pretty weird thing, right?
Your label might say “made in Italy”, but the whole process could have been through 5 other countries before Italy. Combine this with the fact that very few brands know who actually make the clothes in these countries, and you have a good case for the need for more transparency in the industry. This is also why it is a good idea to ask the brand of your clothes what they can tell you about the process.
What are your clothes made of?
Next up are the fabrics: from polyester to linen, you can find almost anything on your label. Except for wood. Oh, wait … you can even get clothing made from wood these days! Your piece of clothing comes in either 100% fabrics or a mix of different fabrics, which each has its own unique properties.
So which fabric should I buy? Well, that all depends on what you are looking for. Smooth, strong, warm, cold ... you name it and there’s a fabric that has it! One thing you might want to look at (that’s not on the label) is the sustainability of the fabric. While no brand is obliged to put their impact on a label, you have the internet at your fingertips! With just a few clicks you’ll learn that polyester, for example, releases tiny pieces of polluting plastic when washed. By comparing some fabrics, you can make a general estimate of the impact of the clothing you want to buy. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good start.
Handle with care!
Last but not least: the washing instructions. Every fabric behaves differently, so it’s important to have a look at the instructions before you wash it (or not), otherwise your brand new shirt might all of a sudden be better suitable for a kid. Generally, you want to avoid putting your clothes in a dryer, since that can make the fabric shrink and also requires lots of energy to use.
Alright, that was it for this blog. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for another blog, leave a reply!
Team Iron Roots