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Statistical data in recent years has shown a slowdown in the China textile and apparel export growth and a gradual blossom of the domestic market. These changes have resulted in more enterprises focusing on the domestic consumption market. However, some production enterprises, brand owners and dealers do not fully understand the domestic product quality standards. The lack of full understanding of the domestic product quality standards has led to an increase in the frequency of products that do not pass product quality spot checks. Failed spot checks can seriously affect the enterprise image and brand value.

Current Situation and Analysis

According to the results of spot checks done in all provinces and cities by the Administration for Industry and Commerce, Quality and Technology Supervision and Consumer Council in the first half of 2014, there were 1801 failed test items spot checked from apparel, home textiles and footwear sectors. The summary of failed test items are shown in the following charts1.

These charts show that most failures occur in the apparel category. Fiber content was the item with the highest failure rate of 34.5%.

The current commonly used standards in the Chinese market related to apparel and footwear are presented in Table 1.

Chart 1. Top 10 Failure Categories 

failure categories

Chart 2. Percentage of Product Type Failures

product type failures

Chart 3: Proportion of failed test items spot checked by locations

 failed test


 

Table 1. Apparel and Footwear Standards in China

GB COMPULSORY STANDARDS
  • GB 18401-2010 < National general safety technical code for textile products>
  • GB 5296.4-2012 < Instructions for use of products of consumer interest -- Instructions for use of textiles and apparel>
  • GB 25038-2010 <Rubber shoes healthy and safe specification>
  • GB 20400-2006 <Leather and fur Limit of harmful matter>
GB PRODUCT STANDARDS Apparel
  • GB/T 2660-2008 <Shirts and blouses>
  • GB/T 2662-2008 <Cotton wadded clothes>
  • GB/T 2664-2009 <Men’s suits and coats>
  • GB/T 2665-2009 <Women’s suits and coats>
  • GB/T 2666-2009 <Trousers>
  • GB/T 22849-2009 <Knitted T-shirt>
  • FZ/T 73020-2004 <Knitted sportswear>
  • FZ/T 81004-2003 <Skirts and skirted suit>
  • FZ/T 81006-2007 <Jeanswear>
  • FZ/T 81007-2003 <Casual wear>
  • FZ/T 81008-2011 <Jackets>
Home Textiles
  • GB/T 22796-2009 <Quilts, Quilt cover>
  • GB/T 22797-2009 <Sheet>
  • GB/T 22843-2009 <Cushion and pillow>
  • GB/T 22844-2009 <Matched bedding>
  • FZ/T 01053-2007<Textiles-Identification of fiber content>
  • F/T 62017-2009<Towelling gown>
Footwear
  • GB 28011-2011 <Shanks for footwear>
  • GB 25036-2010 <Children’s canvas rubber footwear (shoes)>
  • GB/T 15107-2005 <Athletic footwear>
  • GB/T 22756-2008 <Leather sandals>
  • QB/T 1002-2005 <Leather shoes>
  • QB/T 2880-2007 <Children’s leather shoes>
  • QB/T 2955-2008 <Casual shoes>

 

How To Avoid Failure in Spot Checks

Below are some of the categories most often cited in failed spot checks. Suggestions on how to avoid failures or improve products are given below.

Clothing

  1. Fiber Content

    Fiber content is important information to guide consumers to buy products and one of the important factors that determine the value of the product. The labeled fiber content not matching the actual fiber content or the absence of a fiber content label will harm the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.

    It is important to double check that the actual fiber content listed on the garment matches the fiber content determined before bulk production stage.

  2. Colorfastness (Washing, Perspiration, Rubbing, Light)

    Failed colorfastness properties may result in the dye loss or transfer from the fabric and affect the appearance of the garment. Certain dye molecules or heavy metal ions removed from fabric may be absorbed into the human body through the skin and might result in health hazards.

    Complete and sufficient washing to remove all un-attached dyestuffs from the fabric surface should be used during production. Appropriate fixation treatment to increase the binding force between dyestuffs and fabrics should be used. Colorfastness qualities should be qualified through testing before garment bulk production.

  3. Formaldehyde

    Exposure to residual or released formaldehyde from apparel may be associated with irritation of the respiratory tract and skin and mucous membranes which may cause respiratory system injury. Formaldehyde can trigger various kinds of inflammation and its contact with skin may cause allergic dermatitis, cracking, blistering and even necrosis.

    Additional washing with warm water and drying in circulating air may remove small amounts of residual formaldehyde. If a formaldehyde treatment is needed on fabric, the smallest amount of formaldehyde possible should be used.

  4. pH Value

    If the pH value of the fabric is too high or too low, it may affect the pH balance of the human skin and may result in skin irritation. Sufficient neutralization processes should be used during production.

    Treatment with a weak acid or weak alkali may be used to neutralize fabric that is slightly out of tolerance.

  5. Banned Azo Dyes

    The products containing the banned Azo dyes may be potential carcinogens to the human body when they come into direct and prolonged contact with the human skin.

    Once the textile fabrics contain banned Azo dyes, it is difficult to eliminate by further processing. Only prevention from the source can avoid such kind of problems. During the dyeing of textile fabrics only qualified dyes without the banned Azo dyes should be chosen. In order to avoid unnecessary loss, testing should be used to determine if banned Azo dyes are present when choosing or buying the fabrics.

Footwear

  1. Hardness of shanks
    • Use of shanks which fail the hardness tests may result in the overall deformation of the shank and may result in unstable footwear. In severe cases the wearer may suffer a fall or injury to themselves.
  2. Flexing resistance
    • Soles which fail the flexing resistance requirements may result in soles being broken during wear. There also may be danger of an accidental fall.
    • The bulk production should be tested to be sure that the choice of material with good flexing resistance performance as sole was made.
  3. Appearance quality of footwear
    • Footwear failing the quality requirements may affect the purchasing choice and wearing of consumers.
    • The footwear should meet the requirements of shoe size, labeling and appearance quality in product standards.

In the face of increasingly frequent quality supervision and spot checks in the domestic market, the product quality of items must be increased in order to reduce the number of failures and to maintain the corporate/brand identity among consumers.

SGS is the world’s leading Inspection, Verification, Testing and Certification Company, willing to provide guidance on how to comply with the requirements of consumer products being sold in the China domestic market and to help manufacturers, brands and dealers to improve their product quality.

Find more information on SGS Services for the Textile & Footwear Industry.

Karen E. Kyllo, Ph.D.
Deputy Vice President, Global Softlines
SGS North America Inc.
t: +1 973 461 7934

Jane Jiang, Ph.D.
Softline Technical Director of Asia Pacific,
Global Softlines
SGS-CSTC Standards Technical Services (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
t: +86 021 6107 2808

Reference:

1 Data Source - China Quality Network (in Chinese)