Is Rebranding Clothes Illegal?

Rohan Mathew






Most people doubt whether or not it’s right and legal to rebrand clothes made by other parties. Is it legal to modify the corporate image on clothes designed by other companies and relabel them as your own? Well, we shall be tackling this dilemma shortly. You can also consider our custom woven clothing labels at affordable pricing.

Branding is vital for every business striving to display itself ultimately. But it doesn’t just involve coming up with a name idea against your product. It consists of building the right experience and distinguishing your enterprise from an ocean of competitors.

Common Reasons for Rebranding

Many reasons exist as to why it’s necessary to rebrand clothes made by other manufacturers. The primary reason is to align the product with your customers. This is especially when you recognize an opportunity to grow or want to tap into a new market. In that case, the initial branding may be insufficient to do the job. Therefore, rebranding becomes your go-to strategy.

Below are more reasons for rebranding:

  • Internationalization 

The original branding may only work in a particular region, different from your area of operation. Rebranding, in that case, makes the label applicable in your country.

  • An Outdated Image 

Businesses can’t help but rebrand an old-fashioned style. With the current, fast-moving, modernization trends being witnessed worldwide, new and more effective brands are constantly being adapted to. There is also a rising demand for a modernized label on clothing.

Risks Associated with Rebranding 

Although rebranding comes with many benefits, it can subject your business to considerable amounts of risk. The most common risk is losing the original clients. Clients loyal to the initial branding are most likely to get disoriented, which negatively affects your business.

The best example is the 2009 brief rebrand of Tropicana, which was offbeat from their usual orange-with-straw branding. The new brand undoubtedly crashed the company’s identity, and loyal consumers could no longer recognize the existing juice on shelves.

Is Rebranding Clothes Illegal?

Rebranding of initially branded clothing (also called reverse passing off) is illegal unless you observe certain parameters. Reverse passing off is an unlawful act of replacing other companies branding with your logo, then selling it under your name, or getting rid of the brand entirely. In that case, strict guidelines under the Textile and Wool Act are put in place and must be adhered to whenever rebranding a piece of clothing.

While rebranding, the following information should be included on your labels, as per the Textile and Wool Act:

  • Product’s country of origin
  • The fiber content and country of origin
  • The name of the business accountable for marketing and managing the product

You must clearly state each of the above information on your label while rebranding. You should not change the product’s country of origin to your current place of residence. That way, you’ll be violating the Textile Act. The same case applies to the item’s fiber content and its original manufacturing country.

Of course, the rule above has a few exceptions. It’s lawful to change the original business name (or the RN number). You can replace it with your business name or that of the organization responsible for handling the product. However, if you decide to detach any label that carries necessary information, do so after filing the details on the country of origin. You should as well keep these details for at least three years.

As we have stressed, you must strictly stick to the rules governing the rebranding process. Another thing to note is; you are under the same rules governing the original manufacturer. Therefore, ensure the country of origin is noticeably placed – of course, on the upper side of the label. It’s also crucial to get an RN number, though pain-free.

On the contrary, it’s entirely legal to brand clothes that lack initial branding (also called white label clothing) and sell them as your own.

White Label Clothing

White label clothing involves apparel that is produced unbranded. Manufacturers only make the product, and it’s up to you, the seller, to brand it or sell without one. In that case, you are perceived by the market as if you are the one producing the clothing. Some companies also offer private labeling, in which the manufacturer brands the clothing with your logo from the start.

You do not want to be caught on the wrong side of the law. While rebranding your clothes, make sure to observe the above rules for the smooth running of your business.