Everyone seems to want an Hermés’ famous Birkin bag — except for the actress who lent the bag her name.
Jane Birkin has asked the French leather goods purveyor to rename the version of the Birkin bag made out of crocodile skin, in protest of crocodile farming and skinning practices, according to Reuters.
In a statement obtained by the Associated Press, she “asked Hermes to de-baptize the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place.”
The request comes after an investigative report at a Texas farm into how crocodile leather is obtained for high-end accessories was released by PETA in June. The video showed the farm’s employees referring to the crocodiles as “watch straps,” as well as being left to die slowly in a “bloody ice container,” according to the AP.
“Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years,” the company said in a statement to Vogue UK. “Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.”
Hermès has denied that the farm in Texas depicted in PETA’s video, called Lone Star Alligator Farms, supplies crocodile skins for the Birkin bag, which can take up to two skins for a single bag. It is a Hermés supplier for other bags and accessories, however, and the company has made assurances that there will be a full investigation, according to the AP.
The bag was created in 1984, after a chance encounter on an aeroplane between Birkin and former Hermés director Jean-Louis Dumas. The Birkin bag — and in particular the ones made of crocodile — are one of the rarest and most expensive luxury leather goods available. A fuchsia-coloured crocodile-skin Birkin broke the record for the most expensive handbag sold at auction in June, selling for $US222,912 in Hong Kong.
The starting retail price is $US10,000, and many would-be customers spend months or years on waiting lists hoping for the chance to buy one.
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