I wrote a guide for identifying the brand and age of lolita items, mostly focusing on old school. Of course I haven't seen every tag ever so it can't be 100% accurate but these are my findings, and it may be helpful for identifying older items♡
The first Angelic Pretty tag that I believe is documented. I've never seen a tag older than this. As by the name it's from when Angelic Pretty was just named Pretty. According to Lolibrary Ichigo-chan Headdress from 2002 has this tag though, so I'm not sure until when it was used. I also haven't seen a dress that apparently has this tag.
№2 ♥ ANGELIC PRETTY 2000 - Mid 2001
(Tag and Care Label from Side Spindle OP from late 2000s.)
The second Angelic Pretty tag and the first with the new name Angelic Pretty. The care tag still has PRETTY so it must have been released prior to the company name change at the end of 2001. Angelic Pretty was still being referred to as both Angelic Pretty and Pretty in Gothic Lolita Bibles.
(Tag from Gobelin Switching JSK from 2001 feautred in GLB #3.)
The third Angelic Pretty tag. Angelic Pretty written in a red gothic font that matched their logo around that time. The care tag should say Angelic Pretty now (but I don't own anything to confirm).
№4 ♥ ANGELIC PRETTY Late 2003?
(Tag from Sweet Ribbon JSK from 2003 feautred in GLB #10.)
The fourth Angelic Pretty tag. This is where it gets confusing..as you can see it's the same tag as the second from 2000s. I have absolutely no idea why some items from 2003 have this tag but there are also dresses still using the prior gothic tag. To differentiate between 2000 and 2003, you'd have to check the care label, which if from 2003 would be Angelic Pretty rather than PRETTY.
№5 ♥ Angelic Pretty 2004 - Late 2004
(Tag from Ribbon Switching JSK from 2004.)
The fifth Angelic Pretty tag. Gothic font in pink with gold crown in between the words 'Angelic' and 'Pretty' on a white background. (Sorry I don't have a close pic of this one, but it's almost the same as the next one.)
№6 ♥ Angelic Pretty Late 2004 - 2006
(Tag from Mini Lesson Bag from Summer 2005.)
The sixth Angelic Pretty tag. Exactly like the 5th, but on a pink background.
№7 ♥ Angelic Pretty Late 2006 - 201x?
(Tag from Mode Girl OP from Autumn 2006)
The seventh Angelic Pretty tag. New pink cursive font with pink ribbon, gold crown and sparkles.
Angelic Pretty 2010 and beyond
After 2010(?) they then used the tag with a big pink ribbon with polka dots with the Angelic Pretty font used on their current shopper bag. I don't know much about modern items, but as far as I know they are still using that tag. There's also the same in purple for their more mature line.
№1 ♥ METAMORPHOSE ~ 1999 - 2000, 2001 - 2002
(Tag from Alice OP Set from 2000.)
This is probably the first Meta tag documented, or well known as the first. Gold curly font in capital letters. There are some skirts from 2001 and 2002 that still uses this tag, but I believe it stopped being used in dresses at least by 2001.
№2 ♥ Metamorphose 2001 - present
(Text Only Tag)
I personally haven't seen this tag used in dresses.
Mostly seen in dresses from what I gather.
№? ♥ METAMORPHOSE ~ 2000?
(Tag from Triangular Purse Bag from 2000? featured in GLB #1. (source: Mercari))
I've recently just come across this extremely unique and lovely tag! It's very very different to the normal Meta tags, and I never knew of its existence until now. This bag was feautured as an illustration in the first Gothic Lolita Bible. I believe it was released in 2001 (or maybe 2000). I have no other knowledge of this tag being used.
№? ♥ manifesteange 2001?
(Tag from Embossed Bag with Coin Case from 2001 featured in GLB #2.)
This is a bag from around the same time as the one mentioned before but with a completely different tag that is more aligned font wise with the other Meta tags mentioned. Also note that Metamorphose's full name was Manifesteange Metamorphose Temps de Fille, which is why the tag says Manifesteange. I read on Meta's early website that the 'image' of Manifesteange was of an accessory line, so I was not surprised that a bag might come with a 'Manifesteange' tag. Also, some socks also have 'Manifesteange' written on the backs.
№1 ♥ CROWN LABEL 2002 - 2006
(Tag from Princess OP (Velveteen) from 2002)
First Crown Label tag. My knowledge of CL is shaky but CL originally, was launched in 2002 according to Meta’s site to release items twice a year at a more affordable price than the main label. The tags may have changed at some point.
№2 ♥ CROWN LABEL 2009 - present
(Tag from CL Cotton Candy OP from 2012)
Crown Label releases disappear on Lolibrary between 2007-2008 and come back in 2009. According to Meta's modern website, Crown Label was launched in Spring & Summer 2009 (maybe due to the change in designers the past Crown Label is not mentioned) as a sweet line to Metamorphose.
№0♥ SPIRITUALITÉ SHINING HEART ~ 199x ?
(Tag from a skirt from ..? (source: Violet Blue)
A rare look at BABY before it was BABY. I don't know anything about pre-BTSSB other than this skirt which features the early tag. It's the only item I've ever seen with this tag (so really whoever got it is extremely lucky).
№1 ♥ BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT 2000 - present
(Tag from Milky Coat from 2001)
Unlike the indecisive Angelic Pretty, BABY never changed its tag, logo or name, which makes this section easy to write (but makes pieces impossible to ID simply by tag). Sometimes the tag is sewn in as a triangle, so that’s cool.
(Tag from Bunny Ear Muffs from 2006)
Same tag, just cut off at BABY, THE STARS because it's too long.
(Tag from Removable Sleeves Baby Doll Blouse from 2010)
Same tag of course but I do not know what the hearts signify. It may be that the item came in different sizes. I’ve seen a Millefeuille JSK with this tag also, which was also released in different sizes in 2010.
I believe that the hearts do signify sizing: 1 heart = S, 2 hearts= M, 3 hearts = L!
(Tag from Flower Lace Ribbon Combs from 2007)
Usually used on small hair accessories. White tag with logo in a muted gold colour with the princess drop logo.
№1 ♥ MAM early 2000s
(Tag from Velveteen Torchon Lace Skirt from 2002)
I believe this is the first MAM tag, it is a cross with a flame with MAM written in gothic letters in silver. Either on a white or black background
№2 ♥ MAM late 2000s?
(Tag from Princess Ribbon Blouse from 2007)
Silver crown with Mam written below in cursive on a white background.
№3 ♥ Mam Maxicimam ?
(Tag from an OP from likely from before 2011)
Gold crown possibly with Mam or Mam Maxicimam written below in cursive on a black and white polka dot background.
It's probably close in age to the tag above but just a variation.
№4 ♥ Mam Maxicimam current?
(Tag from a blouse from 2011)
Silver crown with Mam Maxicimam written below in cursive on a white background within a scallop edged circle.
№1? ♥ INNOCENT WORLD ????
This could be the earliest IW tag but I really don't know. It looks old for sure.
I can't entirely remember where I saved this tag from so I don't know what piece it is, however I had this written as 2000~2001 so there must be a reason for that. But I will leave the year empty for now.
№2 ♥ Innocent World present?
(Tag from Trump Button Apron OP from 2005)
I think this is still the current tag and it seems to have been used since 2001 ish.
№3 ♥ Innocent World unidentified
(Tag from a coat from ??)
I unfortunatley saved this tag without a name so I have no idea when it's from. I'll try to update IW tags later.
№1 ♥ Victorian maiden 1999 ~ 2000
(Tag from Odotte OP from 2000?)
Bordeaux writing on a white tag. The letters are considerably thinner and stylised than any other tag I've seen. The Ribbon Cutsew featured in GLB #1 has this tag, and is alongside items with the next tag, which would lead me to assume this item is older. It's likely items in the first GLB are older than 2001, the year it was published.
№2 ♥ Victorian maiden 2000 ~ 2001
(Tag from Knit OP with Bolero from 2000)
Gold lettering on an ivory background. A bolero on Lolibrary using this tag is attributed to 1999, however it was likely released in 2001 considering the coffin it appears with in the ad was released then.
№3 ♥ Victorian maiden 2001 - 2004?
(Tag from Gobelin Short Length Coat from 2001 and Milady OP from 2004)
Mauve (or pink) writing on a black tag. Some items (blouses from what I can see) appear to have white tags in 2003 & 2004 but I don't have any info on that.
№4 ♥ Victorian maiden 2006~?
(Tag from Rococo Fiona OP from 2006)
Pink writing with swirl design on black background. I don't know anything beyond this so I'm not sure what tag is presently used.
I've upated Victorian maiden but other brands still alude me. I will see about updating Innocent World and adding some other brands, maybe Heart E and Cornet.
I'm always happy to get new information, so please contact me via Instagram if you have any tags and info that could help with this guide.