Obsessed with clothing tags

Fronts and backs of two different clothing tags

For the past couple weeks, I have been obsessed with tags. What makes a great clothing tag? Do tags even matter? And what's the difference between a tag and a label?

Did you know that to sell clothing in the United States, you legally must provide care instructions on a tag? Most tags have the size and the place of manufacture as well.

tag with a picture of a boat

I did come up with a few principles for what makes a great tag. 

1. tags should be unobtrusive and comfortable. 

2. tags should be well made and well sewn.

Many of my clothes have tags that are already fraying. On printed tags (as opposed to sewn tags) the care instructions quickly fade. Even a vintage Saks 5th avenue dress that probably cost a small fortune in the 1950s had the tag sewn on crooked. 

Third, the tag must delight. With that in mind, I turned to illustrator to design the perfect tag, and finally, I hunted down some quality tag makers on Alibaba.

The first tag was the metal tag for the blazer sleeve. This is more branding than anything else, and I wanted a more expensive, metal tag to class it up:

Umudozi tag drafts

After surfing for hours looking for ways to make tags more fun, I decided to include a Rwandan phrase on the inside tag.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 22.51.06.png

Me and the tag maker, Shenzhen Xinbaoyuan Weaving Co, went back and forth about styles. He said I should do a center fold tag, but I wanted a tag that would lie flat and not bother the person wearing the jacket. That's apparently called a "straight cut" tag. 

Also, my smallest font was too small for their embroidery machine, so I had to make the tags a little bit bigger. 

Unfortunately, something went wrong with the first print of our Umudozi tag:

Umudozi failed test

Thankfully, I caught it, and Shenzhen Xinbaoyuan Weaving Co. corrected it. However, the tags I was sent were very thin, and I will be ordering from someone else for my next batch. I should have taken the faulty initial run as a warning. 

In the end, 500 cloth tags and 500 metal tags were shipped to Rwanda and placed in the clothing.

I still have to make the hanging price tags for the clothing. I'm going to go with something ecofriendly, since these get tossed after you buy the jackets. I think I'll make them from recyclable material.

Note: this part is a series about my experiences starting a fashion import business. Want buy some gorgeous African clothing (and at the same time, support workers in Rwanda?) The store is online at Umudozi.com.

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