Fair Trade and Ethical Labeling in the Clothing, Textile, and Footwear Sector: The Case of Blue Jeans

  • Kuik O
ISSN: 02729490
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Consumer labels are quite common in the clothing, textiles, and footwear industry. The most common labels are washing prescriptions, general product information, and quality claims (e.g., the wool mark). Labels on social conditions in manufacturing also have a long history, originating in the United States in the 19th Century. 1 Initiatives came from labor unions (e.g., the United Garment Workers of America) and from consumer organizations, such as the National Consumers League that issued the White Label in 1899 for women's underwear not made under sweatshop conditions, and without workers less than sixteen years of age. 2 At present, there is a revival of social labels, for example focusing on child labor in developing countries in the sportswear and carpet industries. 3 While these labels emerged in Western consumer markets, some developing countries have started to create their own no-child labels. 4 Environmental labels emerged in the last century, either focusing on noxious substances in the products themselves or focusing on the entire array of environmental impacts during production, use and disposal. 5 Recently, some labels began to combine both social and environmental concerns. This paper aims to provide insights into the functioning and relevance of labeling and certification schemes in the textiles, clothing and footwear sector, with a special emphasis on blue jeans.




Kuik, O. (2004). Fair Trade and Ethical Labeling in the Clothing, Textile, and Footwear Sector: The Case of Blue Jeans. ILSA Journal Int’l & Comp. L. (Vol. 11, pp. 619–635). Retrieved from http://www-ilo-mirror.cornell.edu/public/english/standards/ipec/pub/policy/papers/

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