Put at its simplest, a Standard is an agreed, repeatable way of doing something. It is a published document that contains a technical specification or other precise criteria designed to be used consistently as a rule, guideline or definition. Standards help to make life simpler and to increase the reliability and the effectiveness of many goods and services we use. In the UK the British Standards Institution (BSI) undertakes the process of standardisation. BSI in turn works in conjunction with CEN, the European Standards Body and ISO, the International Standards Organisation.
Why use a Standard?
Standards are a powerful tool for companies. Compliance with BSI, CEN or ISO Standards mark your products out as reliable and ready for the market. Standards are useful not only to show your garments are technically up to the mark but a great way of differentiating your product from cheaper alternatives. In many case retailers will specify that garments supplied to them must meet certain performance criteria – very often this means complying with a BSI, CEN or ISO Standard.
How is UKFT involved?
Any Standard is a collective work. Committees of manufacturers, retailers, users, research organisations, Government departments and consumers work together to draw up Standards that evolve to meet the demands of society and technology. There are a number of BSI Committees that impact on the clothing and textile industry: BSI TCI/66 Apparel and Interior Textiles BSI TCI/24 Physical Testing of Textiles BSI TCI/80 Chemical Testing of Textiles BSI TCI/81 Colourfastness and Colour Measurement of Textiles BSI TCI/82 Textiles care labelling, dry cleaning, domestic laundering and drying UKFT sits on all of theses Committees.
UKFT has been instrumental in the development of a huge range of Standards that many members use on a daily basis. UKFT also regularly attend European and International Standards meetings, representing both the views of members and, often, the interests of the UK industry as a whole. Members who are keen to have their voice heard as draft Standards are published and be involved in the Standards making process should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal Status of Standards
Standards by themselves are not pieces of legislation and it is only compulsory to follow them if they are referred to in legislation e.g. the Nightwear Safety Regulations make specific reference to BS5722. However, under the General Safety Products Safety Directive (GPSD), it is compulsory for manufacturers to make, suppliers to supply and retailers to sell a ‘safe product’. This legislation applies to all products, not just clothing and textiles. There is no definition of what constitutes a safe product, but following any Standard that exists and carrying out a risk assessment of the reasonably foreseeable uses of a product are two pieces of advice that we give. A good example of this is BS 14682 Safety of Children’s Clothing – cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing – Specifications, which Trading Standards Officers are using in order to satisfy themselves that a child’s garment is ‘safe’.
How do I ensure my products comply with a Standard?
UKFT is keen to encourage its members to embrace Standards as a way of maintaining quality and ensuring a point of difference. Staff will talk you through the main steps required to meet a Standard, from finding a suitable testing house to undertake compliance testing, to giving access to experts who can explain the technical requirements. For more information, contact: email@example.com
To purchase any BSI. CEN or ISO Standards visit the BSI bookshop
There are no standard sizes in the industry. This is for a very good reason – the human body does not come in a standard size.
To help companies UKFT have produced an international sizing chart which shows the comparisons between UK sizes and sizing systems in EU countries and in the USA. The chart also gives information on footwear sizing. A copy is available in the downloads column.