Originally Posted by FopTalk
Thanks for the FTC guideline link! Will definitely be using it a lot. I'm also quite surprised at how good the writing is, considering it's a government website.
Mind you, while photo number 3 says "Italian Cashmere" on the neck tag, it doesn't say "All Italian Cashmere" or "100% Italian Cashmere", which is what the FTC dictates it must say if in fact the product is made of only one fiber. And I quote:
"If a sweater contains cashmere mixed with sheep’s wool and the label refers to cashmere, the label must accurately disclose the content, for example, 80% Wool, 20% Cashmere. It would be illegal to say simply Cashmere or Cashmere blend without stating the percentages. One exception to the requirement that percentages be stated: the word All can be used in place of 100% if the product is made of only one fiber; for example, All Wool or All Cashmere."
I should mention that this link does not say that manufacturers must indicate "100% cashmere" or "all cashmere" when the garment is indeed fully one fibre, simply that they can, however, if it's blended with another fiber, the blend proportions must be indicated.
This begs the question: assuming the hoodie is fully cashmere, why would JCrew choose not to indicate "100%" or "all" when those coveted monikers are legally available to them? The absence of blend proportion indication on the neck tag might suggest it's full cashmere, considering JCrew has a clear legal obligation to indicate blend proportion if it's anything less than 100% cashmere, but this is only the neck tag, not the inner tag along the side seam, which, in my experience, is where fiber proportions are often indicated. From what I've read so far, the FTC does not mention this issue of two different tags indicating different information; it seems to only speak of hang-tags, product labels and care labels. But what if there's two product labels, one saying "Italian cashmere" on the neck but then indicating a blend on the inside product label?
So, methinks JCrew might be hoodwinking us here. Thoughts?
In passing, I am an actual lawyer, but only in Canada and this is not at all my field of practice, so this cannot and should not be interpreted as legal advice or creating any solicitor-client relationship.
This threw me for a bit too when I was reading up on this, but in the end I think everything is in line with the rules. Here's a summary of what I think is going on:
First, some background for amateurs like myself (not being a lawyer it took me a bit of time to get up to speed on all this)
- In the United States there are two applicable laws, often called the Textile Act (15 U.S.C. § 70) and the Wool Act (15 U.S.C. § 68). The Textile Act covers labelling of all garments of any material, the Wool Act has special rules for wool products.
- The FTC is charged with enforcing these laws, and these two laws lead to two sets of regulations, often called the Textile Rules (16 CFR 300) and the Wool Rules (16 CFR 303). These give the FTC interpretation of these laws for enforcement purposes.
- The FTC issues guidelines to help manufacturers, distributors, etc. ensure compliance with the laws and regulations.
Now, on to this situation:
- The Textile Rules and Wool Rules both require all applicable garments have a tag / label disclosing fiber content, with percentage composition, e.g. 80% wool 20% nylon. Let's call this the main tag.
- There is no location requirement for this tag. As mentioned it is often found on the side near the bottom in sweaters.
- If the item is composed of only one fiber, such as cashmere, "All cashmere" and "100% cashmere" are the only legally allowed labelling methods, on the main tag.
- The Textile Rules and Wool Rules also both require a neck tag (on garments with a neck) indicating the country of origin. Hence "Italian Cashmere" on the J Crew sweater.
- The neck tag is not required to disclose the fiber composition. However, fiber composition may be disclosed on the neck tag.
- I don't think there is a general language requirement for giving fiber composition in the neck tag.
- However, and finally, the Textile Rules say (CFR 300.16c) that multiple tags may provide the same information, but "any non-required information or representations placed on the product shall not minimize, detract from, or conflict with required information and shall not be false, deceptive, or misleading."
I think this last part is why the FTC guideline say that any tag which makes any claim of composition must disclose the full composition. For blended items, such as 80% wool 20% nylon, secondary tags must give the exact percentage composition, so as not minimize / conflict with the information on the main tag. However, for items composed of one fiber, this is not an issue. A tag saying "Italian Cashmere" is entirely true if the garment is in fact 100% Italian cashmere. As there is no other language requirement for the neck tag for items composed of one fiber, it's fine to simply use "Italian Cashmere".
At least, this is how I understand the rules. And again, I'm an amateur without much experience reading and interpreting laws and regulations. I may be completely off the mark here.
As to why J. Crew doesn't use "100% Italian Cashmere", I'm not sure. It would seem that would make the item more desirable.