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Clothing Labels

Mombasa Rose

Posted on June 09 2017

Who hasn’t at some time found a nasty scratchy label in their dress? The problem of customers cutting out labels is a huge problem for designers, but how to solve it?

Some of the T shirt brands have started printing the label onto the inside of the garment, not a fan! I don’t always want everyone to know I sized up! Purely for comfort that is!

I found a lovely Made in Italy skirt with the sew in label that was embroidered in white onto white net lace, so very pretty but rather impractical for our range, it was reminiscent of the times when Granny would embroider our names and a few pretty roses onto the back of our handmade dresses!

There is also the dreaded iron on tag that leaves a grey sticky patch when it comes off after a few washes, or the nasty nylon printed tag (that has steel claws haha!)

So what to do? At Mombasarose we have tried to find the softest satin ribbon and embroidered onto that but it’s still a scratchy demon if the hot iron hits it. The lesson is of course don’t iron it and we would love for you to keep the label in!

We are all influenced in some way by the label stitched into the back of a garment or the

cardboard swing tag that dangles from it, but are mostly unaware of the role of graphic artists behind the image we see.

Labels have always reflected the skill and imagination of the people who design them, but they are also used to provide appreciable service to the consumer, and inspire their imagination.

We have designed blue skies and powder puff clouds for Mombasa Rose swing tag and a pretty mint and white dragonfly wing for our Grace and Rose label, both convey very simply our philosophy for each brand. 

Garment labels carry the brand name and also other useful information. They can also be used for attaching spare buttons, thread, sequins or fabric for mending. As a special extra, my favourite; those that come with a complimentary badge or pin!

At Mombasa Rose we’re terrific label fans and hate to see what some retailers do to these sometimes labels almost miniature artworks, sticking barcodes on top or tearing parts off.
Labels can become quite collectable, in the same way as people collect stamps, postcards, pins or phone cards. Labels and swing tags from the 1940’s and 50’s can be especially collectable, featuring travelling explorers, fantastical fruits, elephants, island scenes and so many exotic animals.

Label designers today tend to opt for a more minimal approach that will in all probability become collectable in 50 years’ time.

A label designer needs to love fashion and keep up with current trends, but most of all they must possess a keen sense of design and a curiosity to be different, have a sound knowledge of retail trends and always be on the lookout for new movements.

I love to search op shops and street markets, junk shops and archives, to find historical references for new ideas, whilst keeping in mind there must be consistency between the product the theme and the brand. Labels are a means of projecting an image that goes far beyond providing more information regarding the brand.

We live in a civilization of images and sometimes we get too much of them, if a logo or trademark is boring or dull this will often influence the image a shopper has when deciding whether to purchase an item.
Image lies at the very heart of fashion and be it a couture garment with a beautiful handstitched label, a funky streetwear t shirt or even a pair of running shoes the garment label you see will have been carefully designed to convey the brand and to usefully provide consumer information.

 Now look at labels with a fresh eye and maybe it will be easier to discern the garment and brand identity.