Textile Laws & Regulations

Instructor: Stephanie Przybylek

Stephanie has taught studio art and art history classes to audiences of all ages. She holds a master's degree in Art History.

Have you ever wondered where the fabric in your shirt or pants came from, or who sewed your clothes? The people and operations involved in making your clothes are governed by laws that address things like safety and trade. In this lesson, learn about textile laws and regulations.

A Complex Worldwide Industry

Look at the label on your shirt or pants. Does it tell you where the item of clothing was made or where the fabric came from?

The textile industry is global. It provides jobs to millions of people around the world. Textile goods are very important products for many economies, and for the people who make things like blouses, T-shirts, and blankets that are shipped to retail stores near you. Certain textiles are famous because they come from certain places. Think about Turkish rugs or silks from the Far East. But making textiles is also complicated, and it can be dangerous. Many people were probably involved in weaving the fabric from which your clothes are cut, and many more sewed them and shipped them to the store where you purchased them.

Because of the number of people involved, the origins of manufacture, the economic value, and safety factors, there are many textile laws and regulations to govern the textile industry.

What Do the Laws and Regulations Govern?

Before we discuss rules, let's cover some important information about the production processes involved in the textile industry. While you're reading about these segments, think about the people and operations that might be involved in each one.

Making textile goods involves four facets. They're not necessarily steps but different aspects of the industry that might have different laws and regulations governing them. First, the plant or animal from which the textile fiber comes must be grown or raised and fibers must be harvested. If the textile fiber is artificial (made from manipulated natural substances like wood pulp), or synthetic (man-made by chemical processes), it has to be manufactured.

Second, in both cases, the individual fibers must then be made into cloth. Some cloth is woven on large machines, while other types are still made by hand. Countries and cultures follow different practices. Weaving produces a large piece of fabric. But what happens to that fabric?

This is consideration three. It takes a lot of fabric to make clothing. If you look closely at a piece of clothing, you'll see that it's made of many parts that are sewn together. All of those parts have to be made before they can be assembled, and sometimes the process happens in several different countries. Someone in one country may cut the parts for a shirt, and then someone in another country may sew them together.

The fourth element includes all the other non-clothing textile goods, like blankets, curtains, rugs, and bedding. They represent a growing segment of the textile industry and are products that are made by different manufacturers. These materials, too, may have parts that are woven and assembled in multiple locations before heading to the consumer market.

Textile Industry Laws and Regulations

Because the process involves so many steps in many different places, governments recognize possible areas for fraud as well as manufacturing practices that might be harmful. They establish rules governing people who make textiles in their own countries and those who import them from other countries.

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