White Label vs Private Label Clothing: A Detailed Comparison

BUlk t shirt

The clothing industry offers retailers two main sourcing options – white-label clothing and private-label clothing. Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are important distinctions between white-label and private-label apparel manufacturing. Understanding the key differences is crucial for clothing companies looking to choose the right production strategy.

What is White Label Clothing?

White-label clothing refers to finished products that are manufactured by a company and sold to retailers to rebrand and resell under their own label. White-label goods are generic, unbranded products that can be customized with a retailer’s own branding, logo, and packaging.

Some key characteristics of white-label clothing:

  • Unbranded, generic products
  • Mass-produced in bulk quantities
  • Limited or no customization options
  • Sold to retailers and wholesalers for rebranding
  • Manufactured in plain packaging with no tags or logos
  • Low per-unit cost due to mass production

White-label production allows retailers to source quality clothing at low wholesale prices without investing in manufacturing. It’s an affordable option for companies that want to create their own clothing line without high minimum order quantities.

Examples of popular white label clothing manufacturers include companies like ALPP Apparel, TSC Apparel, Bay Isle, and Apparel Sourcing Company. Many manufacturers in Los Angeles, China, and Bangladesh offer white-label clothing production.

What is Private Label Clothing?

Private label clothing refers to products that are custom-made for a specific brand and sold exclusively through that brand. Private label goods are designed, manufactured, marketed, and owned by the retailer placing the order.

Characteristics of private label apparel:

  • Exclusive products made for a single brand
  • Custom-designed and manufactured
  • Branded with the retailer’s own logo and labels
  • Higher minimum order quantities
  • Sold exclusively through the retailer’s sales channels
  • Higher per-unit cost due to exclusivity and lower production runs

Private-label clothing allows retailers maximum creative control and brand exclusivity. It’s ideal for established companies that want to offer unique product lines and strengthen brand identity.

Some examples of well-known private-label clothing brands include Target’s Cat & Jack, Walmart’s Time and Tru, and Amazon’s Goodreads. Apparel manufacturers like LOHO Manufacturing and S&J USA specialize in private label production.

Key Differences Between White Label and Private Label

While white-label and private-label clothing fulfills similar roles for retailers, there are some important distinctions between the two:

Manufacturing Intent

  • White label – Products made in bulk for multiple resellers
  • Private label – Products made exclusively for a single brand


  • White label – Generic branding and packaging
  • Private label – Unique branding assets owned by the retailer


  • White label – Limited customization options
  • Private label – Fully customized designs, fabrics, trims, etc.


  • White label – Non-exclusive products sold widely
  • Private label – Exclusive products, only available through one brand

Target Market

  • White label – B2B sales model targeting resellers
  • Private label – D2C sales controlled by the retailer


  • White label – Requires rebranding and marketing by the reseller
  • Private label – Retailer handles all marketing and branding

Pros and Cons of White Label Clothing

Advantages of White Label

  • Lower minimums – MOQs as low as 10 – 100 units
  • Lower costs – 10-30% cheaper than private label
  • Faster lead times – Bulk production means shorter lead times
  • Less risk – The manufacturer handles production

Disadvantages of White Label

  • Limited customization – Only branding and packaging can be customized
  • No exclusivity – Products can be purchased by competitors
  • Commoditized products – Harder to differentiate offerings

Pros and Cons of Private Label Clothing

Advantages of Private Label

  • Exclusivity – Products only available through your brand
  • Brand building – Strengthen brand identity and assets
  • Higher margins – More pricing flexibility and markup potential
  • Differentiation – Unique products that stand out from competitors

Disadvantages of Private Label

  • Higher MOQs – 100 – 500+ unit minimums
  • Longer lead times – 3-6 months from design to delivery
  • Higher costs – 30-50% pricier than white label
  • More risk – Greater financial liability if products don’t sell

Key Questions to Consider

When evaluating white label vs private label clothing, here are some key considerations:

  • What are your business goals and target customers?
  • What is your brand positioning and identity?
  • What are your pricing strategy and expected profit margins?
  • What is your current and projected sales volume?
  • How quickly do you need to get products to market?
  • How much design control and exclusivity do you need?
  • How diverse is your product catalog?

Your business model, brand strategy, and product mix should inform your decision between white label vs private label manufacturing.

Case Study 1: White Label Success Story (Harper & Brooks)

Harper & Brooks sells affordable women’s workwear with a minimalist aesthetic. As a new fashion brand, they wanted to quickly launch a line of basic, high-quality staples like blouses, pants, dresses, and blazers.

By partnering with a white-label clothing manufacturer, Harper & Brooks was able to:

  • Test different product styles with lower risk
  • Launch their brand with lower MOQs (100 units per style)
  • Source high-quality generic products and add their own branding
  • Get products to market in under 3 months from design to delivery

Sourcing white-label apparel allowed Harper & Brooks to establish their brand, validate products, and expand their catalog without high private label minimums. Once sales volumes increase, they may shift select products to custom private label production.

Case Study 2: Private Label Success Story (Amazon Goodthreads)

Amazon Goodthreads is a private label men’s and women’s fashion brand selling exclusively on Amazon. As a strategic private brand for Amazon, Goodthreads needed to:

  • Create unique products only available on Amazon
  • Produce clothing to compete with rival retailers’ offerings
  • Establish Amazon as a destination for fashion essentials
  • Drive repeat purchases and loyalty through quality and fit

By investing in private-label apparel production, Amazon Goodthreads is able to:

  • Offer high-quality basics with consistent fit and sizing
  • Control designs, materials, manufacturing, and quality
  • Prevent competitors from copying or purchasing the same clothes
  • Market products as exclusive Amazon brands

Private label production supports Amazon’s branding goals and provides differentiation through fit and fabric upgrades.


White label and private label apparel both offer compelling benefits for clothing retailers. The right choice depends on your business model, brand positioning, product catalog, and growth stage. Many brands find success in combining white-label and private-label items to balance affordability, speed, exclusivity, and risk. With the right strategy, both approaches can effectively support your brand identity and growth.