Edinburgh Woollen Mill is under scrutiny for allegedly mislabeling its scarves as pure cashmere.
The U.K. retailer was issued a court case in Scotland over falsely claiming its scarves were 100 percent cashmere on two occasions in 2014, The Guardian reported. Edinburgh Woollen Mill has denied the claims and is challenging the textile testing process used by a local trading standards team.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill was brought to court after Alison Irving, a Dumfries and Galloway council trading standards officer, bought a blue tartan scarf in February 2014 and a red scarf in June 2014. The court said both scarves were discounted to $36 from $73 and labeled as 100 percent cashmere.
The alleged offenses were initiated under the Textile Products (Labeling and Fibre Composition) Regulations 2012 and reported to have taken place at the retailer’s location in Church Place, Dumfries.
The trial began at Dumfries sheriff court in September, but reporting restrictions prevented the public from hearing about it until this week. One of the retailer’s lawyers said reporting about the case could potentially be “prejudicial to the legitimate interests” of the firm, but the reporting restrictions have since been revoked.
Irving told the court she cut up the scarves, packaged them and sent them to be analyzed at two different test labs, SGS UK and Intertek UK. Irving sent the scarves for testing on behalf of the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute.
After testing at both labs, Irving alerted Edinburgh Woollen Mill that one scarf was reported to contain 84.4% of cashmere, meanwhile the other scarf was reported to consist of only 61.6% cashmere. Each lab returned different results, which Irving said she found to be “strange.”
“They were different from each other but neither said they were 100 percent,” Irving said during cross examination.
According to Irving, after sending the mill a sample, the company sent back other test lab results showing that both scarves were each 100 percent cashmere. Allegedly, textile analyst Liqin Zhang tested one of Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s advertised 100 percent cashmere samples in August 2016 and she found that the sample was 85 percent cashmere and 15 percent unidentifiable fibers. The retailer’s lawyer claimed said the testing processes were the same and that Zhang produced inaccurate results.
The case remains open and a legal settlement has not been reached yet.