Fashion & Trends

Best Of Labels: Margaret Howell

We take a look at how the designer Margaret Howell uses her brand labels in a unique way, and how to make this work for your custom clothing labels.
2022-01-14

Margaret Howell is an iconic British fashion designer known for thoughtful, timeless designs using predominantly natural fibers that often have a soft, slightly worn appearance. Since the brand's inception in the late 1970s, Howell has approached sustainability in a very holistic way. Her clothes are designed to age gracefully, and she uses more traditional forms of tailoring to create pieces that will stand the test of time.

According to their website, the brand works to minimize waste in many ways and limits production to smaller runs of carefully considered pieces, with around 95% of their suppliers based in Europe. Each aspect of the business seems carefully considered, and that comes right down to their use of clothing labels in the MHL brand.

 close up of clothing label on a blue and orange striped tshirt

The MHL Labels We Love

Margaret Howell shows us how clothing labels can be made multi-purpose with her MHL labels. The entire size range is printed on each label, and the corresponding size is marked with a stitch or bar-tack in a contrasting color. This means that each season clothing labels don’t need to be ordered to match specific stock numbers, making one label work for an entire collection.

This also gives MHL a unique identifier from the outside. This small contrasting stitch is noticeable on the back of an item where the label sits. In almost every other way, Margaret Howell stays away from logos and branding on the outside of garments, so this is a subtle way others may know whether a piece is hers or not. Many of her pieces – chunky fisherman's knits, soft shirting, and woolen pants – could easily be mistaken for well-loved items taken from a grandparents' wardrobe (in the best way possible), making little details like these important to the branding, without them being overly obvious.

 close up of clothing label on a knitted sweater

Make Clothing Labels Work For You

Adding a full size range is just one way of combining clothing labels. If you have a small size range, labels can also be ordered with individual sizes on them. Just make sure to order a few more than necessary in case of any last-minute changes. And, if you use the same labels each season, the extras won’t go to waste.

If you do want to add a complete size range to your labels but don't want a visible stitch on your garments, a hand-stitched cross or mark could be added without piercing the item it is attached to, or the size can be marked on the label before it is attached to anything.

We also see this working well on care and content labels. A range of sizes can be added to a custom care label design, then sizes can be marked with a stitch or even a permanent pen once attached. This adds flexibility to your labels and is especially good for anyone who makes items to order, as you will be more likely to have a label that can be customized to each order you receive.

And, if ordering your clothing labels with the sizes pre-decided is a bit complicated, we also offer a large range of small size labels that can be added directly to a garment or even sewn onto another label first.

Do you have any clothing labels you love that serve multiple purposes? We would love to see them! Tag us on Instagram or Twitter.

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