All items must carry a label indicating the fibre content, either on the item or the packaging.
The label should be durable, easily legible, visible and accessible. If the product is supplied to a wholesaler the indication may be contained within business documents – the invoice, for example. A textile product consisting of two or more fibres accounting for 85% of the finished product should be marked with the fibre followed by a percentage – for example, ‘cotton 80%, polyester 15%, nylon 5%’.
If a product consists of two or more components with different fibre contents – for example, a jacket with a lining – the content of each must be shown. Any decorative matter that makes up 7% or less of the product is excluded from the indication of fibre content. The word ‘pure’ should only be used where the garment is made up of only one fibre. The word ‘silk’ cannot be used to describe the texture of any other fibre – for example, ‘silk acetate’ is not permitted. Only certain names can be used for textile fibres and these are listed in annex I of EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 on textile fibre names and related labelling and marking of the fibre composition of textile products. This list may be updated as new technology produces new fibres.
If you are using, buying or selling a fibre product with a name that does not appear on this list, contact your local trading standards service for advice.
There are special provisions that relate to the required method of labelling of corsetry products, etch-printed and embroidered textiles, velvet and plush textiles (or textiles resembling velvet or plush), and floor coverings and carpets where the backing and pile are composed of different fibres.
Textile products in sold in multipacks – such as floorcloths, cleaning cloths, handkerchiefs, bun nets and hair nets, wash-gloves, face flannels, etc – of the same type and fibre composition may have inclusive rather than individual labelling. The full list of products to which this allowance may be applied can be found in annex VI of EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011.
Annex VII of EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 contains information on textile product components that are not taken into account in determining fibre compositions.
Fur & other animal parts
Consumers must be made aware when textile products contain parts of animal origin, such as fur, leather, bone, etc.
The use of non-textile parts of animal origin must be clearly labelled or marked using the phrase ‘contains non-textile parts of animal origin’. The label can contain further information on the parts of animal origin – such as mink fur or lambskin – but the mandatory phrase must always be used.
This also means that any mis-labelling – for example, labelling real fur as faux fur – is an offence.
Additionally, it is an offence to sell, import or export cat and dog fur, and products containing such fur. Similar provisions apply to the marketing of seal fur (these are enforced by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) rather than trading standards services).