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Call Me 'Birkin' No More: Jane Birkin’s Plea to Hermès

Call Me 'Birkin' No More: Jane Birkin’s Plea to Hermès

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    Aug 05, 2015   Author : admin

Posted in: IN DEPTH

There’s trouble in the luxurious world of Hermès, and it involves one of their iconic handbags. It has been reported that after years of attaching her name to one of Hermès’ most famous handbag to date, Jane Birkin has requested to end her partnership from the luxury brand.

In a statement released to Agence France-Presse, Birkin was quoted to have said

"Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermès bags carrying my name, I have asked the Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag."

This may come as a shock for Hermès lovers around the globe since the “Birkin” bag has always been the most coveted. The bag is known for being a status symbol for the rich and famous -- and has been poignantly immortalized as one in the movie Sex and the City with the line “It’s not a bag. It’s a Birkin.” The iconic tote which is made of all sorts of leather imaginable, will cost a hefty $15,000 for crocodile or alligator skin (and can cost even more depending on design). But now that Jane Birkin herself no longer wants to be associated with the highly prominent luxury house who even has a waiting list to boast, what’s going to happen to the world of fashion (or handbags, for that matter)?

Hermès, however, has since responded to the matter at hand: 

"Hermès imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles. For more than 10 years, we have organised monthly visits to our suppliers," continued its statement. "We control their practices and their conformity with slaughter standards established by veterinary experts and by the Fish and Wildlife Service (a federal American organisation for the protection of nature) and with the rules established under the aegis of the UNO, by the Washington Convention of 1973 which defines the protection of endangered species."

While Hermès may be popular for using exotic skins on their handbags, there are also many other brands that do the same. The likes of The Row, Victoria Beckham, Nancy Gonzalez, Marc Jacobs and Nina Ricci are just a few brands also known for using exotic skins for their handbag manufacturing. The question, however, is would the present issue of Jane Birkin ending partnership over exotic skins effect other brands? And what could these consequences be if at all? Will the super rare, super luxe handbags become a thing of the past? Only time will tell. But even though consumers will start to weigh down the pros and cons of buying luxury goods made of crocodile, alligator or anything else exotic, these big designer companies will continue to produce as long as there’s demand. It’s the trick of the trade, after all.

The Ecclestone sisters will continue to buy these uber-expensive handbags because they love it, and they collect it. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen will continue to design handbags made of exotic skins because that’s what their brand is known for. The Kardashians will continue to flaunt their luxury goods for the sake of flaunting, and we can’t do anything about it... unless they realize the situation themselves. 

Jane Birkin’s plea to remove her name from Hermès may be the first step towards PETA’s goal of educating people regarding a more ethical and eco-friendly sense of fashion. Designer brands such as Stella McCartney and Clare Vivier has already been known to use only ethical and natural material, in favour of a totally green fashion. We hope many other brands will follow suit. Factory-farming crocodiles and alligators and slaughtering them for their skins isn’t really something to be proud of, right?

So the next time you buy an exotic leather handbag just for the purpose of “flaunting”, please see this video for a change of heart.


Image: Tyler Shields | MYC Writer: Elonah Jade Bioneda

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