Updated: Mar 28, 2020
The following applies to any and all types of apparel manufacturers, importers, brands, designers, boutiques, chain stores and every other retail outlet. From fashion jeans, to dresses, to uniforms, work clothes, streetwear… any garment that is made or sold in the USA.
In the apparel industry RN stands for Registered Identification Number. This 6 digit number is often found printed at the bottom of the care instruction label, like RN 123456.
An RN can be obtained from the Federal Trade Commission and should appear on every garment a company makes for the US market. It’s a way for the government or other entities to identify the company responsible for manufacturing or importing the garment. So for example if someone imported pants that are a fire hazard, the FTC would be able to locate the manufacturer by the RN as it appears on the label of the garment. Also individuals may want to know who made a certain piece of clothing.
Anyone can access the public RN database and find out the company responsible for manufacturing any garment sold in the USA.
As it turns out, many apparel manufacturing veterans may say it’s illegal to manufacture, import, distribute or sell clothing without an RN on the label. Believe it or not, the RN is not a requirement, it is only a means to avoid having to print the factory or importer’s name. Here is a quote from the FAQ of the FTC website.
Do I have to use an RN?
No. You are required to label covered products to identify the business responsible for marketing the products in the United States or the manufacturer. Therefore, you may put your company business name on the label instead of an RN. The business name is the full name that appears on business documents, such as purchase orders and invoices. It is not a trademark, brand, or designer name, unless that is also the name under which the company conducts business. Alternatively, products may be labeled with the RN or business name of the company that is buying the goods from you, such as a distributor or retailer marketing them in the United States. If you are acquiring finished products from an importer or distributor that markets them in the United States, or a manufacturer, the products can remain labeled with that company’s RN or business name. RNs are available only to businesses residing in the United States. However, imported goods can be labeled with the name of the foreign exporter or distributor that markets them in the United States, or the manufacturer.
This clearly explains that as long as the importer, manufacturer or seller of the products in the USA includes the registered company name, not the brand but the corporation that operates that brand it’s all legal and compliant.
In such cases, at Private Label Apparel Connection we like to use ‘manufactured for’ and the company name as well as the state where it is registered. This clears up any misunderstanding and insures the garments without RN do not get stuck in customs or create any kind of liability.
For those who produce garments on a regular basis, it is recommended to apply for an RN. Though processing may take a while, it’s easy and free to receive a Registered ID Number from the FTC.
For detailed information about registering an apparel manufacturing company, to apply for a number or to answer any question about the RN, please visit the FTC website Registered Identification Number database page: