Maker of synthetic fiber carpet agrees to rename product line

By CAROL RYAN DUMAS

Capital Press

The International Wool Textile Organization has persuaded Shaw Industries Inc. to rename its "Wool Collection," a 100 percent synthetic nylon carpet collection.

Shaw was using the term "wool" to promote the new synthetic carpet.

As a result of the action taken by International Wool Textile Organization, Shaw announced in a press release last week its immediate withdrawal of the expression "wool" for its collection.

"The collection is inspired by the look and feel of natural, hand-spun wool but is constructed of nylon. In order to avoid confusion in the marketplace, Shaw Contract Group is renaming the collection 'Couture, inspired by wool,'" the press release stated. "The name change conveys the fact that the product draws inspiration from the wool fiber but is, in fact, a synthetic nylon product."

The matter was brought to the industry's attention this summer as Shaw was promoting the carpet at an interiors show, said Karl Spilhaus, president of the National Textile Association.

Spilhaus worked with International Wool Textile Organization to address the situation.

"For Shaw to be calling a product wool that doesn't have any wool was kind of outrageous," he said. "It was a foolish thing to do and also goes against the law."

The company could have been sued for misrepresentation of a product, an unfair trade practice.

"It had not come to that, but we had done some research into that and the legal remedies were pretty clear," he said. "We could have forced them to pull it back if they had not done it voluntarily."

Spilhaus said Shaw's mislabeling is a compliment to the wool industry.

"They say imitation is the highest form of flattery," he said.

But "I can't understand how a big, sophisticated company could get into something like that," Spilhaus said. "I'm glad they saw the errors of their ways and changed the name. And I hope they buy wool in the future."

Peter Orwick, executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association, said the International Wool Textile Organization in concert with National Textile Association wrote a formal letter to Shaw registering their objections.

"This was good that the industry didn't have to enter into litigation to make it happen," he said.

Phone calls to Shaw Industries were not returned.

Staff writer Carol Ryan Dumas is based in Twin Falls. E-mail: crdumas@capitalpress.com.

Online

International Wool Textile Organization: www.iwto.org

Shaw Industries Inc.: www.shawfloors.com

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