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Right label

By Nickunj Malik - Nov 26,2014 - Last updated at Nov 26,2014

The thing with the garment industry is that they charge you for the label. What is a label? It is this rectangular sort of tag that is sewn onto any piece of clothing that you buy, usually at the back of a shirt collar or the waistband of the trousers, the two most sensitive places in any individual’s body. 

Why do they do that? In practical terms, it marks the ownership of the product, like granting copyright to the apparel, so to speak. But in actual fact, it is to irritate the buyer. 

It’s almost as if all the fashion houses share a private joke at our expense, literally and figuratively. They make us part with humungous sums of money and then make us wear outfits that constantly keep reminding us of our folly, through these prickly little labels that scratch the back of your neck and waist at regular intervals. 

It is not easy to get rid of them, let me tell you. If you have not observed it before, turn the collar of your shirt and examine it right now. You will notice that the bit of cloth, with one end stitched in while the other hangs free, is made of a thicker material than the rest of it. It is also sewed up with extra strong thread. There is no point pulling it because it never comes off. The buttons, bows and the other embellishments on the blouse might, but the label? Never!

And so, in order to get rid of them, one has to cut it off. And here is the irony.  You pay an exorbitant price for a particular ensemble because of its brand name that is marked on the label but before wearing it, you are compelled to immediately remove the same. If you don’t then there is no accounting for the severe skin rash that might inflict your skin where the harsh label rubs against it, that is. 

So, the first thing I do after purchasing a dress is to detach its price tag. We all do that, no big deal. Who wants to announce the discounted cost of the item one has surreptitiously bought? Immediately after that I start working on removing the label. This is not easy as it sounds because, like I mentioned before, they use extra strong thread to stitch it into the fabric. 

I’ve tried using the pointy end of safety pins and sewing needles to pull out the thread but have ended up twisting them instead. My fingertips have also got bloodied in the process but more often than not, the sturdy labels have held on fast. 

Therefore I bought a pair of tiny clippers especially for this purpose. These are shaped like shears but have extra sharp edges to them. They work like a double-edged sword because if one is not careful while using them, not only the label but also the material around it gets nicked too. And for someone who is incapable of needlework, that spells double trouble. 

Recently I borrowed a blouse from my daughter’s wardrobe. Within minutes of wearing it, the label started
stinging me. 

“Why are you frowning?” asked my husband. 

“I am not frowning, I’m scowling,” I muttered. 

“Such a ferocious scowl?” he repeated. 

“This shirt is biting me,” I confided. 

“Does it bark as well?” he joked.

“With this label on my neck, so do I,” I announced. 

“Get the scissors, fast,” he said, backing off.

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