The supplier of the item that caused social media controversy for the Foxford Woollen Mills last weekend, is adamant that the Foxford store is completely innocent and never buys animal fur items from him.
For the last 60 years, internationally renowned Dublin based Jimmy Hourihan supplies luxurious outerwear – including capes, stoles, shawls, scarves and coats. Midwest News spoke to Mr Hourihan after the iconic brand of Foxford Woollen Mills, attracted the anger of online animal welfare activists last Sunday when the activists mistook an abbreviation of the store’s name on a product label — “Fox” — to mean that the item was made from fox fur.
Foxford Woollen Mills shop and visitor centre was bombarded with messages from animal activists after the Party for Animal Welfare (PAW) shared a post featuring a photograph of a woman’s stole or long scarf from the store. The photo showed a product label that read “FOX PORM-POMS STOLE”, and was accompanied by the message: “Why does Foxford Woollen Mills have to sell a wrap with fox fur pompoms?
Foxford Woollen Mills on its Facebook page, pointed out that "FOX" is an abbreviation for Foxford. But not before PAW, which is a registered political party, urged its followers on social media to contact Foxford Woollen Mills to express their feelings on the matter, while others called for a boycott of the store.
However, the pompoms on the stole were actually made from faux fur, and the word “FOX” on the product label was merely an abbreviation for Foxford and so the Woollen Mills posted on its Facebook page. "We do not sell fox fur."
On Sunday night PAW issued an apology for the mix-up on Facebook, but defended its actions. Midwest News contacted both Paw and the Foxford Woollen Mills for comment earlier this week.
Foxford Woollen Mills declined the offer. However, a spokesperson for Paw contacted Midwest News and declined to do an on-air interview but explained that PAW “is a group made up of volunteers that speak up on behalf of animal rights and is not in the business of maligning people or businesses. However, PAW's mission is to call out animal injustices when they are observed. She indicated that Midwest News should look at an email sent to PAW by the supplier of the stole - Jimmy Hourihan, and posted on the PAW facebook page. She claimed it justified their stance. We did so but it didn’t clarify anything on the particular item focused on by PAW in the Foxford store case, so instead Midwest News rang Mr Hourihan who said that Foxford Woollen Mills is completely blameless in this controversy.
He confirmed that his company’s website sells almost 100 different items, and as is clearly indicated on the website, two of these contain animal fur.
But Foxford Woollen Mill's label on a Hourihan stole he explained merely indicated “FOX” as an abbreviation of Foxford, as distinct from the Mill’s Westport based store. Jimmy Hourihan spoke to Teresa O'Malley...