Upcyling textiles has become very popular these days. Grab some used clothing, rip it, cut it, sew it back together and voila! a new item is born. There are many books on the market that teach how to upcycle clothing from jeans to sweaters and everything in between. I’m a big fan of upcycling and I prefer to make my items from thrifted clothing.
But how do you label these products to comply with FTC textile laws? I just found something on their website which I believe answers this question. I found it here and the text appears below…
Products containing unknown fibersIf a textile product is made — in whole or in part — from scraps, clippings, rags, secondhand fibers or fabrics, or other textile waste materials of unknown and, for practical purposes, undeterminable fiber content, the disclosure may indicate that this is the case. For example:
Made of clippings of unknown fiber content
100% unknown fibers — rags
All undetermined fibers — textile by-products
100% miscellaneous pieces of undetermined fiber content
Secondhand materials — fiber content unknown
45% Rayon 30% Acetate 25% Unknown fiber content
75% Recycled Wool 25% Unknown Reclaimed Fibers
60% Cotton 40% Unknown fibers — scraps
If on the other hand, the fiber content is known or can be readily determined, the full content disclosure must be given.
This is just from the FTC and doesn’t include CPSC rules for children’s items but I don’t believe those require fiber content (correct me if I’m wrong?)
But a word of caution for anyone who believes you are off the hook…
Just because you don’t NEED to include fiber content on your labels doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Your customers WANT to know what your item is made of. I won’t wear synthetics like polyester or acrylic. I have a friend who is allergic to wool. So if you don’t tell us what fibers you used, you can lose potential customers. You can also fetch higher prices for high end fibers like silk or wool, so keep that in mind.
But maybe you don’t need to disclose all of the content in the sewn-in fabric label which are costly to produce – even the DIY fabric labels are a pain for upcyclers and I’ve experienced many frustrations myself in that area. Based on the FTC rules, you can probably print a batch of labels that state “made from 2nd hand garments” and then create a hang tag for the actual fiber content or disclose that info in your online description. It seems like a good compromise. I, for one, cringe at the thought of labeling those sweater coats people make by sewing 10 different sweaters together. Can you imagine calculating fiber content for that?
Hopefully that helps out some people selling upcycled textiles. I know I’ve had more than one person ask me about labeling upcycled items and I honestly didn’t know how to respond until I stumbled on the answer today while looking for something completely different. (rayon rules, actually)
Got any feedback on this or upcycling in general? Would you buy an upcycled item and what would you expect on the label as a consumer? I would love to hear your thoughts.