Q&A: manufacture and distribution of fashion goods in Netherlands

Manufacture and distribution

Manufacture and source chain

What lawful framework governs the development, manufacture and supply chain for trend merchandise? What are the usual contractual preparations for these interactions?

The progress, manufacture and supply chain for trend products are ruled by normal commercial and deal law. In the Netherlands, a standard independence of agreement applies. Having said that, less than Dutch legislation, any commercial contract is topic to a reasonableness and fairness exam. The thought of reasonableness and fairness may, in specific situations, established apart or imply selected contract clauses.

The contractual preparations relating to the advancement and manufacturing of vogue goods are normally incorporated in focused progress or manufacturing agreements. As regards the offer chain, businesses ordinarily promote their merchandise by a network of vertical agreements (eg, by way of distribution, franchise and agency agreements). Mandatory statutory policies apply to franchise and company agreements respectively. For example, for franchisees set up in the Netherlands the provisions of the Dutch Franchise Act simply cannot be derogated from to their detriment. Also, non-level of competition and goodwill clauses contrary to the requirements under the Dutch Franchise Act are null and void. This applies irrespective of the regulation that governs the franchise agreement with these franchisees. 

Distribution and company agreements

What authorized framework governs distribution and agency agreements for vogue merchandise?

The distribution agreement has no specific statutory basis in Dutch legislation. Because the distribution agreement is usually applied in the Netherlands, various precise subjects related to distribution interactions – for example, the termination of distribution agreements – have been clarified in case legislation.

The company arrangement has a statutory basis in Dutch regulation and is controlled in Title 7.7.4 of the Dutch Civil Code. The related legislation is, inter alia, primarily based on the Council Directive of 18 December 1986 on the coordination of the guidelines of the Member States relating to self-employed industrial brokers (Directive 86/653/EEC).

What are the most typically employed distribution and agency buildings for vogue items, and what contractual conditions and provisions usually use?

Agency and distribution agreements for manner merchandise are frequently framework agreements that supply the terms that govern separate invest in agreements or orders.

Company and distribution agreements for fashion goods are typically concluded for a particular territory, these kinds of as a country (Netherlands) or a team of nations (Benelux). Brokers and distributors are, even further, commonly appointed on an distinctive or non-unique foundation.

Appropriate contractual terms and provisions to consist of in company and distribution agreements for fashion merchandise are, inter alia, stipulations concerning the duration of the connection, applicable minimum getting obligations (subject matter to competition legislation needs), appropriate gross sales targets, marketing efforts, renumeration, recalls, and security of mental home legal rights.

In addition to the above, it is critical to maintain in head the luxurious manner sector particulars when drafting a lot more ‘standard’ contractual clauses. It will, inter alia, be applicable to consider the seasonality of manner when agreeing on feasible (untimely) termination options, including recognize intervals and any termination charges.

Import and export

Do any distinctive import and export policies and constraints utilize to vogue products?

As a commencing stage, it is very useful to evaluate and decide the proper origin and commodity code of the appropriate trend fantastic being imported or exported. This will enable trend companies not only to decide the customs duty impact, but also to much better determine the applicable principles and constraints – such as regardless of whether on import or export a products requires a permit or stamp underneath the Conference on Intercontinental Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Some examples of import and export principles and restrictions are as follows:

  • vogue items containing certain fur or leather or other areas from endangered species are subject to prohibitions or certain licensing necessities
  • seal-associated style items are topic to prohibitions. Seal solutions entail all items, either processed or unprocessed, deriving or received from seals
  • denims originating from the United States bring in extra customs responsibilities on importation into the EU and require to be taken into account
  • fashion and luxurious merchandise designed subject matter to EU sanction regimes:
    • the EU sanctions versus North Korea, prohibiting the sale, source, transfer or export of luxury merchandise to North Korea as properly as the import, buy or transfer from North Korea of luxurious items and
    • style items becoming regarded as economic methods matter to export prohibition to any EU sanctioned parties.


In apply, it is recommended to achieve insight into the customs duty effects as properly as all relevant import and export procedures and constraints at an early phase, in view of becoming equipped to perhaps mitigate the customs duty influence as well as use for and acquire any essential licences or certifications enabling business operations and the relevant supply chain to operate easily.

Company social duty and sustainability

What are the specifications and disclosure obligations in relation to company social responsibility and sustainability for trend and luxurious brand names in your jurisdiction? What because of diligence in this regard is suggested or needed?

Frequently, outlined businesses with far more than 500 workforce have to report on a variety of non-financial aspects in their once-a-year report. Information and facts to be furnished on company social duty ought to in any event touch on guidelines relating to (1) environmental, social and staff matters, (2) respect for human rights and (3) the tackling of corruption and bribery. Providers are specified a large amount of liberty in their reporting, by way of mostly non-binding pointers. Sustainability is much more typically set as a individual dialogue product on the agenda of the general meeting and it is sufficient to contain a assertion in the administration report a separate, extra comprehensive sustainability report is not necessary.

On 21 April 2021, a proposal to amend the Non-fiscal Reporting Directive was released. The proposal, inter alia, presents for an extension of the scope of the Directive to all stated organizations as properly as large unlisted businesses.

There are also certain Pointers for building sustainability promises, which had been introduced by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Marketplaces (ACM) in January 2021. The Suggestions incorporate 5 rules of thumb for sustainability claims, on the basis of which companies can make sure that sustainability claims are distinct, suitable and will not mislead customers. Pursuant to the Guidelines, providers should really (1) make distinct what sustainability benefit(s) a products provides when making this kind of statements, (2) substantiate any sustainability statements with specifics. Any comparisons with other solutions, services or corporations, (3) have to be good, (4) be truthful and precise about their efforts concerning sustainability and (5) make absolutely sure that visible promises and labels are obvious and beneficial to individuals.

In the Tips, unique references to the trend market are produced. The ACM clarifies, for instance, that for every piece of garments that is claimed to be a ‘sustainable choice’, the specific sustainability benefits have to be said. During the preliminary examine into misleading sustainability statements, the ACM looked at unique industries, like the fashion and cosmetics market. The ACM clarified that the Recommendations provide as basis for enforcement of the regulations on unfair commercial techniques (articles 6:193a to 6:193j, Dutch Civil Code) and (comparative) advertising and marketing (advertising (article content 6:194 to 6:196, Dutch Civil Code). Misleading or incorrect sustainability promises will be regarded as an unfair business apply for which the ACM can impose fines up to €900,000 or 1 for each cent of the company’s annual turnover. Sustainability stays one of the ACM’s vital priorities in 2022, and the Authority is actively pursuing investigations.

In Might 2021, the ACM requested more than 70 vogue corporations to critically assess their sustainability statements. Adhering to this request, the sustainability statements of 10 big manner providers had been assessed by the ACM. Based on its preliminary results, the ACM released a adhere to-up investigation in November 2021 into the sustainability promises of 6 fashion companies, two Dutch and four non-Dutch entities. The ACM stated that if any of the sustainability claims are considered deceptive, it may great the Dutch providers and ask the countrywide regulators of the non-Dutch businesses to do the exact.

The Tips on Sustainability Promises are offered online in English.

The Dutch Baby Labour Thanks Diligence Act (envisioned to enter into pressure in mid-2022 and aimed at all providers providing items or expert services to Dutch close users) imposes an affirmative because of diligence obligation to investigate whether or not there is a acceptable suspicion that items or products and services equipped have been created making use of kid labour and, if there is such a suspicion, to adopt and put into practice a approach of motion.

What occupational well being and security legislation should really manner corporations be knowledgeable of throughout their offer chains?

The Dutch well being and safety legislation focus on industrial mishaps and occupational health conditions (risque professionnel) and on illness and absenteeism of employees in typical (risque sociale). The employer must supply a protected place of work, detect doable hazards and threats, just take action the place necessary and tell staff members about the hazards and avoidance. Additionally, businesses are obliged to report mishaps and look for advice from occupational wellness professionals on the threat stock and evaluation. The employer is further obliged to have a contract with an occupational safety and wellness provider or an occupational health practitioner, whose tips or advice will have to be sought in the situation of prolonged-phrase illness.

The primary Dutch polices about health and fitness and basic safety are:

  • the Doing work Ailments Act, which includes common provisions for companies and employees on how to deal with occupational safety and wellbeing for example, to have a composed occupational well being and basic safety plan and a chance inventory
  • the Doing work Disorders Decree, which addresses a extensive assortment of particular occupational overall health and protection matters, these kinds of as provisions on workplaces, functioning from residence, hazardous substances, sound and vibration
  • the Working Ailments Regulation, which includes quite certain provisions that are transforming comparatively rapid for example, rules for doing the job with laptop screens, and the occupational publicity limit for perilous substances
  • the Major Mishaps Decree and Regulation, which offer with legislation in the subject of main incidents related to hazardous substances
  • the Functioning Hours legislation, covering, inter alia, utmost operating several hours and least relaxation durations and the obligation to properly register doing the job hrs (exemptions use) and
  • The Collective Labour Arrangement Retail Non-Foods, which supplies for, inter alia, precise provisions for businesses and workers on how to deal with doing the job hrs and doing work disorders. The recent collective labour settlement will stay in power up to and which include 30 June 2022.


The Labour Inspectorate monitors compliance with occupational protection and health and fitness laws and rules.

Regulation mentioned date

Accurate on

Give the day on which the information earlier mentioned is correct.

30 January 2022.