A Guide to Labelling

What are the rules when it comes to clothing labels in the UK? Which are essential and how does Brexit change things? 
Although we are certainly not legal experts, we have researched this topic a great deal and are more than happy to share what we have found. 
As the UK’s and the EU’s labelling laws are still practically identical, we have not separated them in this guide. We have a section included on what impacts Brexit might have on changes to labelling laws. 

What do you legally have to include on a clothing label? 

Wash care labels are an industry norm for most garments and help the consumer in a very real and practical way. It is often advised to add one, whether you are legally obliged to do so or not. 
Wash care labels are not legally required to be on a garment, however if the consumer damages that garment by washing it in the incorrect way, you could be liable for the costs of repair and replacement as they would not have known otherwise.

Fibre Content

In both UK and EU law, manufacturers are legally required to state what materials a garment is made out of. An exact percentage of any material that comprises of more than 15% of the total weight of the product must be stated, and every other material it contains must be on the label.
Some terms are legally protected such as “pure wool” or “100% cotton” meaning the garment must be made out of one textile before words like “pure” and “100%” are used. The law does allow a small amount of leeway however, whereby 2% of the garment may be composed of naturally occurring wool impurities or anti-static treatments. The law does also allow manufactures to add embroidered badges, elastic components and buttons etc, without sacrificing the “100%” or “pure” status.
Strictly speaking the fibre content does not have to be stitched into the garment in label form. UK Government Guidance states that “it is sufficient to indicate the fibre composition on the packaging.”

Country of Origin 

Unlike with food products, the country of origin is not legally required to be displayed on clothing labelling in the UK or the EU. Though it should be noted that you cannot legally mislead a consumer about the country of origin. A fraudulent origin label is illegal.

Size Labels 

Legally speaking, you do not have to add a size label to garments in either the UK or the EU. This may come as a surprise to many, but there is not even a shared standard when it comes to sizing – which is why you often find different shops having different measurements for the same size garments.


There are strict laws regarding fire safety and the labelling of nightwear in the UK. Essentially all nightwear has to be made of a material that passes certain flammability standards after it has been washed or have a ‘KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE’ warning printed in red block capitals. Here nightwear is referring to nightdresses, pyjamas, dressing gowns, bath robes and other garments of a like nature. This does not refer to lingerie. 


The European Union is a multi-lingual trading bloc, so you should of course print your labels in the official language(s) of the country where your products are sold. 


Many of us are concerned about what effects Brexit will have, and specifically what that may mean for labelling laws.After conducting some research into this, there have been no fundamental changes to the laws in place when the UK was part of the European Union thus far. According to UK law, we are ‘due an update’, but the current labelling standards in place are quite reasonable and worthwhile, so we can’t see a significant need to change them.The only real palpable reason textile production regulations may change would be due to an emergence of new textiles to the market, or if there is a sudden need to start labelling smaller items (currently there is no need to attach a label to shoelaces or cleaning cloths, for example). 

If you’re still looking to add labels to your garments, we have provided a list of some of trusted wash care label suppliers to help you on your search. 


This company specialises in the manufacture and printing of garment care labels for the garment and clothing industry. They can provide various quality materials for your products with instructions on how to properly wash a garment.
Stocked in standard sizes, with washcarelabels.co.uk you can email in or simply scan and send over your requirements and in return they will produce a sample of the wash care label that matches your design. Once it has your seal of approval, you can then confidently order the quantity you require, knowing it will be exactly what you want.
They offer both single or multiple designs in one print run and have a 1-2 working day production time with fully tracked delivery services. 


wunderlabel.co.uk offers a variety of sizes and materials as part of their wash care label service at relatively low prices. They offer a customizable wash label service with endless design possibilities.
With their nicely designed labels, you can add more than just the washing and drying instructions, such as size, country of origin, material composition or even your company website information. These labels give garments a professional touch and match well with brand and size labels.


Labelyourself.co.uk offers a cheap solution to wash care labels, which can be produced in either Nylon or Satin
Their standard designs can be shipped on the same day as placing the order, and their customisable designs can be dispatched within a few days of ordering. 


Carelabels.co.uk offers a variety of labels, from branded labels, care and content labels, size tabs to CE labelling, all to a very high quality using digital print methods. They have a quick turnaround time and produce little waste in their manufacturing process.
All of their labels are custom made to their customer’s requirements, whereby you can also choose the fabric and ink colour, and all their labels are usually shipped within 24 hours. 


Hallmarklabels.com provides high quality wash care and printed labels to all kinds of customers, whether you are an internationally recognisable clothing brand, or a hungry new start-up, they have the labels you need.
With a strong customer service, boasting knowledge on the legal requirements care labels need, the team is experienced and happy to assist.
Hallmarklabels.com has many different types of materials to choose from, and can even print on black or white material. They offer expert advice to help you layout your label in the most professional and yet cost effective way.
With a low MOQ of pieces per style, they are relatively cost effective and offer a sampling policy, so you can try before you buy. Generally speaking they deliver the labels within 48 hours, making them an excellent choice for your wash care label needs.