Ask The Rabbi

Calvin Klein vs. Label Klein

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Topic: Designer Labels, Wearing on Shabbat

Dan wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I recently bought a new coat. I took off the price tags but I left on the label on the outside of the sleeve that said the name of the designer. The other day I was in a Jewish book store, and the woman working there told me that halachically one should take all of the labels off a garment before you wear it. Can you explain what she was talking about?

Dear Dan,

Carrying an item in a halachic "public domain" is prohibited on Shabbat. Of course, you're allowed to wear clothes outside on Shabbat because you don't "carry" your clothes, you "wear" them.

But what's considered "clothing?" Something that's normally removed, like a price tag, is not considered part of your clothing. So it's forbidden to "wear" a price tag outside on Shabbat, because you're not really wearing it, you're carrying it.

Regarding manufacturer labels, it depends. If it's a tag which people remove (for example, a "Cheapo's Bargain Basement" label) then it's like a price tag and must be removed before Shabbat. But if it's a label that people wear - such as designer labels intended to be worn as part of the clothing - then you don't have to remove it before Shabbat. Since people usually remove the label (even a designer label) from the sleeve of a suit jacket, you should do so before Shabbat.

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