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Naming and labelling of textile products (recast)

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Naming and labelling of textile products (recast)

This Directive harmonises the regulations on textile product labelling in order to eliminate barriers to the internal market in the textile sector and to guarantee that appropriate information is provided for consumers.


Directive 2008/121/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 on textile names (recast) (Text with EEA relevance).


This Directive defines the legal framework applicable to textile names. It applies to:

  • textile products which are made exclusively of textile fibres;
  • textile fibres;
  • products treated as textile products.

Only textile products that comply with the provisions of the Directive may be marketed. The following textile products are excluded from the application of the Directive:

  • those intended for export to third countries;
  • those entering Member States, under customs control, for transit purposes;
  • those imported from third countries for inward processing;
  • those which are contracted out to persons working in their own homes or to independent firms.

Authorised textile product names

The names set out in Annex I of the Directive must not be used for other fibres. Thus the term “silk” may not be used to indicate the shape or particular presentation in continuous yarn of textile fibres.

Only textile products exclusively composed of the same fibre may be labelled as “100%”, “pure” or “all”. Wool may be described as “pure wool” or “fleece wool” as long as it is composed of one fibre.

The composition of textile products

If a textile product is composed of two or more fibres, one of which accounts for at least 85% of the total weight, it is designated by:

  • the name of that fibre followed by its percentage by weight;
  • the name of that fibre followed by the words "85% minimum";
  • the full percentage composition of the product.

If all fibres in the product separately account for less than 10% of its composition, the term “other fibres” may be used, followed by the total percentage or their name, as long as the percentage composition of the product is stipulated. The presence of other fibres must be given in descending order of composition.

Products having a pure cotton warp or a pure flax weft, in which the percentage of flax accounts for not less than 40 % may be given the name "cotton linen union" followed by "pure cotton warp - pure flax weft".

For textile fibres intended for end consumers, a quantity of extraneous fibres of up to 2 % of the total weight of the textile product is tolerated. This tolerance is increased to 5 % for products which have undergone a carding process. A manufacturing tolerance of 3 % in relation to the total weight of fibres is permitted between the percentage stated on the label and the percentage obtained from analysis.


Textile products must be marked and labelled when marketed. If products are not intended for end consumers, labelling and marking may be replaced by accompanying commercial documents.

If products are intended for end consumers, names, descriptions and textile fibre content must be clearly and legibly indicated on labels, marks, packaging or promotional documents. Member States may require information to be provided in their national language or languages.

Any textile product containing several components with different compositions must bear a label stating the fibre content of each component. Two textile products with the same composition and forming a single unit may bear only one label.

In addition, the Directive gives precise indications as to the labelling of certain products such as corsetry articles.

This Directive repeals Directive 96/74/EC.

Key terms of the act

  • Textile products: any raw, semi-worked, worked, semi-manufactured, manufactured, semi-made-up or made-up products which are exclusively composed of textile fibres, regardless of the mixing or assembly process employed.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official journal

Directive 2008/121/CE



OJ L19 of 23.1.2009

Amendment of the Annexes

Annexes i and v - melamine

Commission Directive 2009/121/EC of 14 September 2009 amending, for the purpose of their adaptation to technical progress, Annexes I and V to Directive 2008/121/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on textile names (Text with EEA relevance).


Proposal for a Regulation No …/…/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of […] on textile names and related labelling of textile products (Text with EEA relevance) [COM(2009) 31 final – Not published in the Official Journal]. This Proposal aims at simplifying and improving the regulatory framework for textile names with a view to encouraging innovation in the textile and clothing sector and allowing users and consumers to benefit faster from innovative products. In this perspective, Directive 96/74/EC will be transformed into a regulation, whilst Directives 96/73/EC and 73/44/EEC will be repealed.

This Proposal defines the terms “textile products”, “textile fibre”, “apparent width”, “textile component”, “extraneous fibres”, “linings”, “inclusive labelling” and “disposable product”. It also provides a framework for existing and new types of textile fibre names.

Codecision procedure (2009/0006/COD)

Directive 96/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 on certain methods for the quantitative analysis of binary textile fibre mixtures [Official Journal L 32 of 3.2.1997]. This legislative act is a codification of Directive 72/276/EEC of the Council and the Directives amending it. It provides for fifteen methods for quantitative analysis to be applied to textile products composed of certain binary mixtures. When a binary mixture for which there is no uniform method at Community level is to be analysed, the laboratory responsible for the test may use any valid method at its disposal. Furthermore, the Directive sets up a Committee for names and labelling of textile products which is responsible for adapting the methods for quantitative analysis mentioned above to technical progress in line with the regulation procedure. Directives 2006/2/EC, 2007/4/EC and 2009/122/EC amend Directive 96/73/EC.

Last updated: 16.09.2009