Today I want to share something a little different with you. The Telegraph (a UK newspaper) published an article online last month about care labels on clothing. It turns out that very few people can decipher the detailed instructions conveyed by care icons.
Care icons are supposed to simplify instructions – to allow consumers to understand how to care for their clothes properly, regardless of language. If no one can read the language of care symbols, however, they aren’t doing their job.
Nine in 10 people are unable to decipher common symbols used on clothes labels. . . A third of people surveyed said that they recognised none of the six symbols shown. . . Just 10 per cent sign knew the sign for “do not dry clean”, while only 12 per cent were familiar with “drip dry only”.
The statistics are based on a survey of 2,000 people in the UK, who were shown 6 care symbols and asked what each meant. I must admit, I did a terrible job myself.
It makes me wonder why awareness is so low. Is the system of symbols too complicated? Do a large percentage of people simply not care about the best way to care for their clothes?
Awareness was highest among 18- to 29-year-old women – for whom taking care of clothes is clearly important.
I think the conclusion that these women are more careful with their clothes is a logical assumption, but we don’t know that for sure. At any rate, it’s interesting to me that younger women are more familiar with care symbols than those who have been doing laundry for decades.
It would be helpful to find out HOW they know what the symbols mean. Are they working in clothing retail and have been trained to know? Are they researching what the care icons on their own clothing means, so they can care for them in the best manner? It’s even possible they know which items will be difficult to care for before making a purchase.
Personally, I try to select clothes that are easy to care for; I have in the past rejected items I liked because I knew I wasn’t willing to iron them every time I wore them, or to always dry clean them. Even if I understood perfectly how an item should be cared for, chances are I wouldn’t change my laundry routine for it.
What about you? Do you understand the washing care icons on your clothing? Do you care?
Why do you think younger women are more aware of care icons?