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Edinburgh Woollen Mill faces court battle over "100% cashmere" scarves

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Edinburgh Woollen Mill is facing court over the alleged mislabeling of two scarves purporting to be 100 per cent cashmere.

The retailer is accused of selling two scarves in 2014 which were allegedly advertised as pure cashmere, with recent lab results from the accuser contest this.

The retailer denies the claims and has called for the analysis process of its scarves to be reviewed.

Said to have taken place in one of its 265 stores in Dumfries, Scotland, the two scarves were purchases by a trading standards officer for £30 each, reduced from £60. 

Upon dissecting the scarves Alison Irving of Dumfries and Galloway council sent samples of the two scarves off to separate labs for testing.

RELATED: Edinburgh Wool Mill prosecuted for mislabelling cashmere scarves

It was later revealed Irving was acting on a tip off from the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute who were suspicious over the low prices of the scarves. 

The group had reportedly already made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority which, which was not upheld.  

The lab results showed that one scarf contained 84.4 per cent cashmere whereas the other only had 61.6 per cent.

Susan Duff QC, acting for the retailer, argued that Edinburgh Woolen Mill had sent a DNA tested pure cashmere sample to lab analyst Liqin Zhang in August 2016.

Zhang, who gave evidence saying she found Yak and Wool fibre in the original scarves, found the scarf was 85 per cent cashmere and 15 per cent unidentifiable.

Duff said: "You identified that 100% cashmere sample as 85% cashmere and 15% unidentifiable fibres… The issue is with your identification and not with the product, isn't it?"

Zhang reponded: "If the fibre structure is damaged I have to report it as unidentifiable, I can't just guess."

Duff continued: "You couldn't identify fibres that were 100% cashmere, that's down to your ability?"

Zhang replied: "That's my decision on what my observation is. I'm not saying I'm perfect."

The case is ongoing.

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Published on Wednesday 12 October by Ben Stevens

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