The Hermès Birkin bag has, in its 31 years in existence, become almost synonymous with celebrity and wealth. Prices can reach up to $300,000, while some customised versions have even fetched millions at auction. Victoria Beckham famously owns a huge collection, while other A-list stars have made headlines thanks to their Birkin-related antics; remember the one-of-a-kind style Kanye West gave to Kim Kardashian, designed by North West?
But the most shocking headline of them all might just be the fact that Jane Birkin, the inspiration behind the bag’s creation, has demanded that Hermès remove her name from the brand’s Croc bag- one of the most expensive styles on the market. This comes after a recent PETA investigation alleged that at an alligator factory in Texas- which provides skins for the creation of the Birkins- inhumane practises are used to kill the animals.
Jane Birkin relased the following statement, outlining her wishes: “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 Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag.”
PETA then responded, with the founder of the organisation, Ingrid Newkirk, saying: “PETA thanks Ms Birkin for ending her association with Hermès. Once, Birkin bags marked people as celebrities or at least members of the super-rich, but soon, no one will want to be caught dead carrying one, and animal advocates will then breathe a sigh of relief.”
‘The PETA report was particularly damning, suggesting that just one Birkin bag requires up to two or three crocodiles to produce. But while Hermès maintained its silence at first, the French fashion house has just issued the following:
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. Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.
SEE: Jane Birkin At Cannes Film Festival
An investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video. Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned. Hermès specifies that this farm does not belong to them and that the crocodile skins supplied are not used for the fabrication of Birkin bags.
Hermès imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles. For more than 10 years, we have organized monthly visits to our suppliers. We control their practices and their conformity with slaughter standards established by veterinary experts and by the Fish and Wildlife (a federal American organization for the protection of nature) and with the rules established under the aegis of the U.N.O, by the Washington Convention of 1973 which defines the protection of endangered species.’
Perhaps the bag won’t be changing anytime soon, then…