Regulations for designating textiles fibres in Switzerland

Designating materials is mandatory in the EU and voluntary in Switzerland – but not quite for everyone.

No regulations enacted by Swiss legislative bodies to date

In principle, the Swiss Department of Home Affairs has the authority to put in place the national legislation necessary in Switzerland for the compulsory introduction of textile labels in general and fibre content labels in particular but has not made use of this yet. Nevertheless, Swiss suppliers are not completely excused from providing labels.

Although Swiss legislative authorities do not legally regulate raw material labelling, the clear designation of the materials within a product is desirable from the point of view of consumers, sales personnel and even specialist personnel at professional textile cleaning establishments. However, it is important to note that an item must not be misleading as defined by the Federal Law Against Unfair Competition.

Mail order companies aiming products at the European market must meet EU requirements

Swiss online shops that also aim their products at users based in the European Union must ensure that they comply with EU requirements regarding this. On 7 November, a new EU textile labelling regulation (Regulation No. 1007/2011) came into force for the last time. The regulation – which does not apply to clothing suppliers – replaces the EU regulations in force until now.

Swiss trade follows the “Cassis-de-Dijon” principle

On the other hand, online shops that only serve the Swiss market must only observe Swiss law. It should be noted that the “Cassis-de-Dijon” principle also applies to textiles. As such, textile products in line with EU regulations may also be sold in Switzerland. It is important to note that in accordance with the regulation in force (Art. 2 VIPaV), this principle does not apply to prohibited textiles in accordance with Annex 1.2 ChemRRV. The same is true for textiles that do not meet the requirements regarding the flammability and combustibility of textile materials in accordance with articles 16–20 of the regulation on items for human contact.

Wording in an official Swiss language

Furthermore, product information (including the label) – including for products that are launched in Switzerland based on the “Cassis-de-Dijon” principles – must be drafted in at least one official Swiss language (German, French or Italian) (cf. Art. 4a Para. 1 lit. a Swiss Federal Act on Technical Barriers to Change).

You can find more information on this at the following external site: “EU: Neue Vorschriften zur Kennzeichnung von Textilprodukten” (new regulations for labelling textile products).

Raw material labelling

In Switzerland, neither raw material labelling nor care labelling are prescribed by law and are therefore voluntary.

If raw materials are specified, the following must be observed:

  • To avoid any ambiguity, fibre names must be written out in full on the label. This is due to the fact that abbreviations are not officially standardised and can vary according to the industry (the synthetic fibre industry and clothing industry). Furthermore, information aimed at end users must always be written out in full.
  • For reliable raw material designation, refer to the table of textile fibres compiled by GINETEX or relevant EU directives. In addition to the official fibre names, their numbers and official category names can be found in this table.

Fibre table to be downloaded