NIKE TAG HISTORY & IDENTIFICATION
Identifying the date and season of Nike clothing is more difficult than their trainers; the best place to start is with the era the Nike clothing was produced, determined through the changing neck tag and care label designs. Nike has released various styles of neck tag over the years, which can indicate the era to which your piece belongs.
Following is a quick look at the serial codes and product codes which you might find on Nike clothing, before an exploration of the various neck tag and label designs produced throughout the years and their corresponding era.
Identifying these elements will not only give you useful information about your Nike clothing, but also help to identify real Nike vs fake Nike.
OTHER NIKE PRODUCT CODES
All Nike garments will have an RN56323 and CA05553 Number. But what is the RN 56323 product code?
RN 56323 and CA 05553 are the serial codes given to Nike as required by US & Canadian law for companies that produce textiles. These Nike serial codes, unfortunately, do not help to identify the Nike item. Nike clothing, however, does have serial codes that can help to identify qualities of a Nike item.
It is also possible to identify the exact year and season the item was produced from the Nike serial code which is explored later in this guide.
IDENTIFY NIKE ERA USING THE NECK TAG
Nike neck tags and wash tags can be used to authenticate and identify Nike clothing items, and they also function as an interesting reference for Nike's logo and tag history. At first, the Nike logo on the neck tag did not leverage the iconic Nike swoosh, but in 1987 this became a mainstay. Below is a comprehensive list of Nike neck tags and wash tags.
IDENTIFY THE YEAR OF NIKE CLOTHING
Nike tags can be used to identify the exact year and season the garment was released. A serial code normally placed on a smaller label amongst the wash tags is the first point of call. The first four characters of the 6-12 character Nike serial code designates the year and season.
Unlike most brands, Nike operates 4 seasons throughout the year. The following will determine the season the garment was released:
SP - Spring - January to March (Sometimes just S)
SU - Summer - April to June (Sometimes just U)
FA - Fall - July to September (Sometimes just F)
HO - Holiday - October to December (Sometimes just H)
Our example below uses an old serial code which shows just the letter F for 'Fall'. The next numbers will show be the year of release, in this case 2 is 2002. Some guesswork will be needed to determine the decade for older Nike items which is why we display the neck tag eras above.
In the late 00s the serial number tag changed with the first two numbers after the season code indicating the exact year of production. For example SP20 would mean Spring 2020.
The four digits following the year and season code demonstrate the exact production date of the product. In the example shown 0408 would mean the 8th of April.
Most Nike items will follow this rule if it contains the small serial code label. Look underneath the wash tag to find this reference.
NIKE LOGO HISTORY
The iconic Nike 'Swoosh' has been a staple of the brand since 1971. Designed by Carolyn Davidson, it was originally known as the 'Srtip'. The logo would make it's first outing in 1972. Nike's 'Swoosh' logo has undergone several minor changes since 1971 and today, the solo 'Swoosh' is a regular fixture of many items due to the recognizability it holds.
AUTHENTICATE NIKE CLOTHING
Nike clothing can usually be authenticated through the tag. The above wash-tags (all authentic Nike) can be used for cross-referencing.
NIKE CLOTHING REAL VS FAKE
One tell tell sign of Fake Nike clothing is the stitching, especially on Nike Labels. One can identify fake Nike clothing through spelling mistakes, the use of alternate fonts on the tag itself, and misshapen logo components. Nike prints their labels with solid acrylic inks, these are hard for counterfeiters to reproduce. For this reason, Nike clothing can often be authenticated by the neck tag/wash tag.
WHERE IS NIKE MADE?
Whilst Nike clothing was traditionally made in the USA, the company now has over 600 factories worldwide. Nike has approximately 600 factories, situated across 46 nations, dedicated solely to the production of Nike footwear. Among these Nike suppliers, approximately 36% are situated in both China and Vietnam, while an additional 22% are based in Indonesia. More information and breakdowns regarding Nike factories and production can be found here at All American.