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Directive 2008/121/EC


Directive 2008/121/EC (Official Journal L 19, 23.01.2009 p. 39) on textile names requires the labelling of the fibre composition of textile products. It stipulates for checks on whether the composition of textile products is in conformity with the information supplied.


As long ago 1971 the Commission issued a Directive to harmonise the names of textile products as well as their appearing on labels and marketing documents. This Directive was amended several times and consolidated in Directive 96/74/EC. Finally, after several amendments to Directive 96/74/EC, the text was consolidated in the current Directive.


All products containing at least 80% by weight of textile fibres, including raw, semi-worked, worked, semi-manufactured, semi-made, made-up products are covered in the Directive. A list of exceptions is provided in Annex III (e.g. disposable articles, flags).

The labelling indicating the fibre composition is mandatory in all stages of the industrial processing and commercial distribution of a product. Names and Descriptions of the fibres are listed in Annex I which contains 47 fibre names and their description.

Conformity Assessment (Art. 13)

Checks on whether the composition of textile products is in conformity with the information supplied on the label are carried out by the methods of analysis specified in two supplementary Directives :

  • Directive 96/73/EC (Official Journal L 032 , 03/02/1997 p. 0001 - 0037) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 on certain methods for the quantitative analysis of binary textile fibre mixtures
  • Council Directive of 26 February 1973 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the quantitative analysis of ternary fibre mixtures (73/44/EEC Official Journal L 083 , 30/03/1973 p. 0001 - 0018)


A Committee exists to assist the Commission in the adaptation of the Directive to technical progress, referred to as the Committee for Directives relating to textile names and labelling. It is composed by representatives of the Member States.

Rules of procedure for the committee for directives relating to textile names and labelling pdf - 28 KB [28 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr)

Structure of the Directive

The Directive contains 20 Articles and 7 Annexes. The 20 Articles describe conditions and rules for labelling of textiles, and the procedures for adaptation of the directive to technical progress.

For instance:

  • Definition of textile product (Art.2)
  • Allowed tolerance in different fibres (Art. 5)
  • Languages to be used in labelling (Art. 8)
  • Cases when the Directive shall not apply (Art. 10)
  • Procedures for Amendments (Art. 16)

The 7 Annexes specify:

  • Fibre names and their description (Annex I )
  • Names to describe virgin wool products (Annex II)
  • Exceptions to mandatory labelling (Annex III)
  • Products requiring global marking (Annex IV)
  • Agreed allowance to calculate the mass of fibres (Annex V)
  • Information concerning consolidation of Directive (Annex VI&VII)

Amendments to the list of fibre names

The Directive does not foresee a special format for an application from industry for an amendment of the list of fibre names. In order to inform applicants about core requirements, the Commission services have issued a guide "What is a new fibre? Guidelines for potential applicants". These guidelines are not legally binding and do not express an official Commission position.

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