Wednesday 23 January 2019

The pop-up Possum fur store that helps Joe Schmidt beat the cold

Elizabeth McGuinness from Monaghan of Kiwi Country Clothing (who uses Possum fur) outside her pop up store on South Anne Street. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Elizabeth McGuinness from Monaghan of Kiwi Country Clothing (who uses Possum fur) outside her pop up store on South Anne Street. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

She's the dairy farmer's daughter from Monaghan who has become a fashion go-getter in New Zealand with luxury-feel products made from possum fur.

Elizabeth McGuinness is this week bringing her 'Kiwi Country Wear' to the next level by opening a pop-up shop on Dublin's South Anne Street.

In New Zealand, where Elizabeth lived for 14 years, possum is regarded as a pest and is environmentally culled to protect native wildlife.

Its soft fur is recycled to produce cosy and warm outerwear. Farmers and outdoor-types wear it in jackets and fur linings in their work boots, while fashion models and busy mums avail of its cool-in-the-summer, warm-in-the-cold qualities.

Among the best-selling pieces in Elizabeth's extensive fashion range are her cardigans made from possum blended with merino lambswool.

"The combination of the two is extremely hardwearing," said Elizabeth, who points out that after polar bear, possum leather is the strongest in the world.

"I've had a wonderful reaction to possum here in Ireland because, for a start, it is 35pc warmer than cashmere and it doesn't pill, ball or wear out.

"I'm also very proud to bring these pieces to Ireland because they are endorsed by animal rights and everything we sell gets approval from the Department of Conservation in Zealand."

One person who has discovered the benefits of possum fur insoles for boots is Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt.

Elizabeth said: "Joe emailed me this week and he wears my fur insoles on the pitch to keep warm."

As temperatures dropped yesterday, sales were brisk, especially for the waterfall cardigan and her possu-merino-silk mix jackets at €275.

Also attracting attention was the Russian-style Cossack hat (€255) with velvet lining which can be worn on the reverse, turned up to reveal a fur trim and possum fur scarf at €179.

Irish Independent

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