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 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
(Tag from Lyrical Party Odekake Blouse from 2011)
After 2010(?) they then used the tag with a big pink ribbon with polka dots with the Angelic Pretty font uses on their current (as of 2020/1(?) former) shopper bag. I don't know much about modern items, but as far as I know they are still using that tag (in clothing). There's also the same in purple for their more mature line.
(Tags from Side Spindle OP from 2000, Mode Girl OP from 2006, Ribbon Pearl Fur Cape from 2014, Dreamin' Fairy JSK from 2019)
None of my items have a number on the care tag. Probably not a coincidence. Luckily, AP changed their tag so many times it's easy to identify just by the normal tag.
More modern items have the company name ブティック ア (Boutique A) on the care tag. The ones I have are written 株式会社 ブティック ア and （株）ブティック a (both Boutique A Ltd.).
The phone numbers, although not useful for identification are
№1 ♥ 03-3469-3660 2000/1. Before AP had their site, BTSSB let them sell some items on their site and this is the number given, at least to make an order. It's accredited to アトリエPretty (Atelier Pretty).
№2 ♥ 03-3478-0860 2002 - 2012. This is the number of the head store. Until around 2005 AP still called this store 'Pretty' so was likely still carrying other brands as a select shop. I know at least some early indies 2000s brands were still sold in Pretty around 2003.
№3 ♥ 03-3405-9123 2013 - Current.
№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 use this tag, but I believe it stopped being used in dresses at least by 2001. I now have an unidentified basket bag with this tag, so while I thought this was for clothes only, I'm wrong.
№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.
(Tags from Cherry Print Skirt from 2000, Strawberry Mini JSK from 2003, Sailor OP '05 (Short Sleeve) from 2005, Apple Frill Skirt from 2008, Detective Poodle Skirt from 2009, Raschel Lace Long Drawers from 2018
On Meta's website since 2000 the main number has always been listed as 06-4704-6400, the number of the head office in Osaka. However it differs in the tags.
Also, sorry, I don't have any Crown Label care tag information!
№0 ♥ ~1998 - 2000. There's no number in my Cherry Print Skirt and looking at other items on lolibrary, it looks like there's no phone number in tags during this period. Company name is just written as メタモルフォーゼ (Metamorphose).
№1 ♥ 06-4704-6400 2000 - 2004. Company name is written as （有）メタモルフォーゼ (Metamorphose Co.,Ltd) in items from 2001-2002. From 2003 it's (株）メタモルフォーゼ (Metamorphose Ltd.).
№2 ♥ 06-4704-6434 2005 - 2007. The Sailor OP is made in Japan, but my Gingham Cherry JSK from 2007 with this number does not say where it was made. The company name is written as (株）メタモルフォーゼ (Metamorphose Ltd.).
№3 ♥ 06-6532-5856 2007 - 2008. The items I own of this period are made in China, and it's possible items with this number could be made in China. The company name is written as (株）メタモルフォーゼ (Metamorphose Ltd.).
№4 ♥ 06-6532-6856 2009 - current?. At first I thought it's maybe a typo, but no it's very similar to the above. I'm not sure until when this was the number used but Gardening Teddy from 2011 has this tag too. What I own from this period are made in China. The company name is written as (株）メタモルフォーゼ (Metamorphose Ltd.).
№5 ♥ 06-6532-6856 Current? Bloomers I bought in 2018 have the same number as above, but are made in Japan. Maybe this is the current number and hasn't changed since 2009, just some items are made in different countries. The company name is written as (株）メタモルフォーゼ (Metamorphose Ltd.)
№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 1999)
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.
(Tags from Poodle Bag from 1999, Mohair Bolero with Strawberries from 2006, Heart Marguerite JSK from 2006)
№1 ♥ 03-5459-6687 2000 - Mid 2003. Unfortunately I don't have any items with this number, but it's the number written on BABY's website.
№2 ♥ 03-5468-5491 Mid 2003 - 201x. This seems to be the most common phone number in care tags and may be quite modern, although I'm not sure about modern items. I have this tag with items made in China and Japan. Dresses seem to be made in Japan mostly. Some blouses, bloomers etc seem to be made in China. But it's not 100% certain. Some tags are written in English and Japanese on either side. Company name is written as （株）BABY THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT (BABY THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT Ltd.)
№3 ♥ 03-5422-8808 - 2016 - ?. I have a pair of socks that came with the price tag with this number. I don't know from when until when this is the number used.
№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 ♥ MA 2002 - Current
(Tag from Butterfly Embroidery Check Pleated Skirt JSK from 2006)
Square black tag with MA in a circle design. It appears this tag is still used to this day, and since 2002 on Maxicimam's website the MA logo has stayed the same.
(Tag from MAM Maxicimam Heart Buckle OP with Detachable Sleeves from 2003)
№1 ♥ 03-3325-3868 2002 - ? Everything I have from MAM and MA have this phone number. This is up to 2008 so I don't know about more modern tags. Company name is written as MAXICIMAM.
№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 unfortunately saved this tag without a name so I have no idea when it's from. I'll try to update IW tags later.
(Tag from Chiffon Bustier from 2005)
№1 ♥ 06-6251-6068 2001 - ? Written on IW's website since its opening. Used at least in 2005, but I don't have much IW to go by for now. Company name written as INNOCENT WORLD.
№1 ♥ Victorian maiden 1999 - 2000
(Tags from Bolero and Knit OP with Bolero from 1999 and 2000?)
Gold lettering on an ivory background. Upon consideration I have moved this up to 1999 - 2000 from 2000-2001. I thought the bolero was from 2001 due to a 2001 ad it appeared in, however the phone number on the care tag is one prior to the one used since 2000.
№2 ♥ Victorian maiden 2000 - 2001
(Tag from Odotte OP from 2001)
Bordeaux writing on a white tag. The letters are considerably thinner and stylised than any other tag I've seen. Due to this I thought it was older than the tag before, however it was likely used from 2000 - 2001. The Ribbon Cutsew featured in GLB #1 has this tag, and upon consideration, being surrounded by items with the earlier tag indicates it's a newer item than an older one. It's also on Victorian maiden's webstore in 2000 unlike the older items.
№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.
(Tags from OP with Knit Bolero from 2000?, Bolero from 1999, Odotte OP from late 1999/early 2000?, OP from 2001, Rococo Fiona OP from 2006)
№0 ♥ My OP with Knit Bolero does not have a number or company name on the tag. It could potentially be from 1999 then.
№1 ♥ 06-6415-00156 1999. This number was used in GLB #1. The care tag's company name would say ヴィクトリアンメイデン (Victorian maiden).
№2 ♥ 06-6357-2644 2000 - 200?. This number was also used in GLB #1 but in an advert made by Victorian maiden. By the time the magazine was published this is probably the number they were using. This is the number listed on Victorian maiden's site since 2000. It's the number of the press room (their shop). I'd assume the care tag's company name would say （有）ヴィクトリアンメイデン (Victorian maiden Co., Ltd).
№3 ♥ 06-6135-4411 2003? - ?. Victorian maiden's company (?) is now called Individual, Inc and that is who the copyright of Victorian maiden's site belongs to from 2003 (it used to be Victorian maiden, Inc). I'd assume the care tag's company name would say （株）インディヴィジュアル (Individual Ltd.). This is demonstrated in the tag above, and is also used in a Beth tag from 2008.
№1 ♥ Emily Temple ~ 1998
(Tag from Unknown skirt from ??)
Ivory tag with Emily Temple written in italics. 160 (size) written on the bottom. Maybe have things in different sizes but I don't know.
(Tag from Unknown skirt from ?)
№1 ♥ 03-3401-7911 ~1998. According to the wikipedia (and other Japanese sites) on the designer of Shirley Temple and Emily Temple (cute), Rei Yanagawa, Emily Temple was founded in 1983 as a 'sister' brand and Emily Temple cute in 1998 as an 'womens' brand. There is scarce amount of information on the history of Emily Temple (cute) unfortunately. The company name is written as （株）シャーリーテンプル (Shirley Temple Ltd.).
I've upated everything in general to add care tags. I've added an Emily Temple cute and MA section. 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.