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HQ 082173

October 2, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082173 CMR 828832


TARIFF NO.: 6114.30.3070

Sharretts, Paley,
Carter & Blauvelt, P.C.
Eighty Broad Street
New York, New York 10004

RE: Classification of a gorilla costume under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)

Dear Ms. Shira:

This ruling is in response to your letter of February 2, 1988, on behalf of Ben Cooper, Inc., requesting classification of a gorilla costume made in Taiwan.


The costume, the Super Gorilla Suit, consists of a man-made plush fabric suit with four two-inch long velcro closures down the back opening, separate molded feet and hands made of matching plush materials and rubber, and a mask with a rubber gorilla face and matching plush material hood. The costume is sized for individuals five and a half to six feet tall.


Is the gorilla costume classified as a toy in Chapter 95, or is it considered fancy dress classified in Section XI by application of exclusion Note 1(e) of Chapter 95?


Under the HTSUSA, toys are classified in Chapter 95. However, Note 1(e) excludes articles of "fancy dress, of textiles, of chapter 61 or 62" from classification within Chapter 95.

Fancy dress is defined in Mary Brooks Picken's The Fashion Dictionary (1973) as:

Costume representing a nation, class, calling, etc., as worn to costume ball or masquerade party. (Page 134)

Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, at 822 (1965) defines fancy dress as:
a costume (as for a masquerade or party) departing from currently conventional style and usu. representing a fictional or historical character, an animal, the fancy of the wearer, or a particular occupation . . .

Costume is defined in Mary Brooks Picken's The Fashion Dictionary as:

1. Complete dress or apparel, including all outer garments and accessories worn at one time. Also, dress in general; but incorrectly used for a dress. Compare DRESSES. 2. Type of dress for wear to fancy dress ball. See FANCY DRESS. 3. Type of dress characteristic of any country, period, class, or calling. (Bold added) (Page 90)

From the same source, we find the following terms and definitions:
apparel: Clothing of all sorts; * * * (Page 6)
clothing: Any wearing apparel. For types, see SPORTS CLOTHES and DRESSES. (Page 70)
garment: Any article of apparel, chiefly one made of fabric. (Page 160)

Under the topic heading "Dress and Dresses" is the directive "Also see FANCY DRESS." (Page 109)

In Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary, at 118 (1984), apparel is defined as: "1. Clothing. 2. Something that covers or adorns." Costume is defined as: "1. A prevalent style of dress, including clothing, accessories, and hairdos. 2. A style of dress typical of a particular time, country, or people, often worn in a play or at a festival. 3. A set of clothes appropriate for a particular occasion or season."

From the above definitions, it appears that the terms apparel, clothing, and garment are interchangeable. It also appears clear that fancy dress is a costume and that a costume is apparel or clothing of a particular type.

The Note 1(e) exclusion includes all fancy dress of textile materials and appears to leave no room for differentiating between costumes based on their construction, utilitarian value, and use.

In October 1983, the Nomenclature Committee of the Customs Cooperation Council, at the request of the Australian Administration, considered the classification of children's "Spiderman" and "Hulk" suits; a cowboy suit composed of a waistcoat and chaps with holster, of textile material; a cowboy suit composed of a waistcoat and trousers incorporating a simulated belt with holster, of textile material; and an Indian girl costume consisting of a dress, a headband and simulated braids, of textile material. The classification issue then, as in this case, was whether the costumes were classifiable as toys in Chapter 97 (now known as Chapter 95), or as textile articles of Section XI. The Committee decided the costumes were fancy dress, classifiable in Section XI by application of exclusion Note 1(e) to Chapter 97 (now Chapter 95). Annex F/5 to Doc. 30.550 E (NC/51/Oct. 83).

Although not bound by this decision of the Nomenclature Committee, Customs believes it illustrates the intent of the Note 1(e) exclusion to Chapter 95, and the meaning of fancy dress as it is used in that exclusion. In accordance with the Committee's decision and Note 1(e) to Chapter 95, costumes of textile materials are classifiable in Section XI.

Note 13 of Section XI provides:

Unless the context otherwise requires, textile garments of different headings are to be classified in their own headings even if put up in sets for retail sale.

Note 13 of Section XI requires that textile garments of differ- ent headings be separately classified, thus preventing classification of costumes consisting of two or more garments as sets. If a set cannot exist by application of Note 13, the articles which may be packaged with the garments must also be classified separately. How- ever, costumes consisting of single garments with accessories do not fall into the purview of Headnote 13. Therefore, single garments with accessories may be classifiable as sets by application of General Rule of Interpretation 3(b) according to the item in the set from which the set derives its essential character. Customs believes that the essential character of costumes consisting of single garments with accessories is generally imparted by the garment since without the garment you would merely have a collection of accessory items.

Hats and headpieces are generally classified in Chapter 65 of the HTSUSA. However, Chapter 65, Note 1(c), excludes "doll" hats, other toy hats or carnival articles of Chapter 95. Chapter 95, Note 1(e) excludes sports clothing or fancy dress, of textiles, of Chapter

61 or 62. While costume hats and headpieces could be considered to fall within the meaning of fancy dress of textiles, they would not be classified in Chapter 61 or 62, but in Chapter 65; therefore, the exclusionary note does not apply.

The gorilla suit at issue is made of six pieces or components. Composite goods are defined in the Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation of the HTSUS at the international level, as "not only those [goods] in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts."

We believe the gorilla suit meets the definition of composite goods. While the gorilla mask might be sold separately, the body suit, hands and feet are not items generally sold separately. All of the components of the gorilla suit are adapted to each other, are mutually complementary and form a gorilla costume that would not normally be sold separately in parts.

As a composite good, classification of the gorilla suit is determined by that component which gives the suit its essential character. The Explanatory Notes address the issue of essential character under GRI 3(b) as follows:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

The body suit is the major component of the gorilla costume. It is the most costly and has the greatest visible surface. While each component is necessary to have a complete costume, the body suit, due to its value and bulk, is the component which we believe gives the costume its essential character. By application of Note 1(e) to Chapter 95, the body suit portion of the gorilla suit, as an article of fancy dress, cannot be classified in Chapter 95. Therefore, the mask, hands, and feet are classifiable with the body suit in Chapter 61.


The gorilla suit costume is classifiable in the provision for other garments, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibers, other, other, subheading 6114.30.3070, HTSUSA, textile category 659, dutiable at 16.1 percent ad valorem.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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