Supima, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based non-profit that certifies genuine Pima cotton, a long-fiber variety used by clothing brands such as Brooks Brothers and Land's End, is promoting the technology among clothiers to make sure that suppliers are really shipping PIma cotton. In the U.K., the Textile Centre of Excellence has been partnering with wool and cotton mills in that country to test their supplies as well.
Since the DNA stays on the fiber, it doesn't matter what happens to it on the way. So, let's say Brooks Brothers, which still does the bulk of its manufacturing in the United States, ordered a big batch of cotton fabric, from a Chinese supplier. An employee can take sample and send it to Applied DNA Sciences' lab to test whether the cotton requested is the same as the one being purchased. If the artificial DNA shows up, and in the right sequence, then that shipment of cotton is indeed the one requested. If it isn't there, no deal.
As an added bonus, it means there's a way for clothiers to check if those shirts the guy on the corner is selling are cheap knock-offs. Authorities could use the same technique on a pile of shirts and see if they really are the brand they say they are.