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In a March 24, 2014 article, Consumer Eagle quoted Venable partner Amy Mudge on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent changes to textile labeling rules. Providing context, Mudge said originally “The Textile Act was passed both to protect consumers and to encourage free trade, as other countries passed similar laws around the same time.”

Under the new FTC rules, manufacturers: 1) only need to list a product’s fiber content on the label sewn into the garment, not on the separate hang tag, whereas before they had to list it in both places; and 2) can use brand names for fabrics (e.g. Lycra is a brand name version of spandex made by Invista).

This is a good move because “a hang tag is where consumers look for the price, maybe the size, but not the fiber content information,” said Mudge. This was an extra burden on clothing and textile manufacturers. “I see only possible upsides if the changes reduce the cost of doing business,” Mudge said. “And perhaps a reduction in cost will mean reduced prices or more choice for consumers.”

The most recent FTC changes to labeling might be minor clarifications and updates to reflect current business practices, but they are still important because they change the way clothing is labeled and information is shared with the consumer, said Mudge.