The need of “Made in” labels has never been such a hot topic.  And everybody wants it for their own personal or political reasons.

Origin labeling is not mandatory in Europe.  In May this year a new rule was adopted to clearly flag fur, leather and any animal derived materials on textile product labels. But that really will come into effect in 2 ½ years to give the industry time to adjust.  The European Parliament has commissioned the European Commission to lead a study on the feasibility of implementing origin labels on textile products.  But we will have to be a little patient: their  report is due by September 2013!

Meanwhile politicians of all parties AND consumers all want their labels. Mostly a label that will say: “Made in My country”.  In Europe this trend bears a nasty reminiscing taste of right-wing patriotic slogans.  But today this label is also used for much more progressive and open minded purposes.  It’s another way of saying: “buy local”. An argument well used by the green parties – and many of us too! – and one that makes absolute sense to reduce CO2 emissions on our planet.  Economists and moderate politicians – right and left – want their label in order to fuel an alarming decaying employment rate, hoping this will bring manufacturing back to Europe.  And then some consumers want their label because they just want to know what they’re buying!               

But essentially having this label would help the apparel industry reinvent itself.  The luxury market needs to guarantee it will keep its growth rate tomorrow and heavily relies on these quality labels.  “Made in Italy” and “Made in France” certify the quality.  Luxury houses such as Hermes and Chanel owe part of their growth to their strategy of keeping the manufacturing local hence justifying their prices too.  Non-European luxury brands like Ralph Lauren recently said that sourcing their fabric out of Italy added value to their products.

A label for the environment. A label for better quality.  A label for more employment. A label to inform.  For once we seem to have reached a consensus.


Celia Newhouse

 

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