Don’t call it a Birkin!
In a major coup for animal rights activists, famed style goddess Jane Birkin has demanded her name be removed from one of French fashion house Hermes’ most exclusive bags.
“Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermes handbags carrying my name. I have asked Hermes to de-baptize the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place," the 68-year-old British-born Birkin said in a statement.
An undercover investigation of the exotic-skins industry by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal found “live reptiles sawed open and left to bleed to death on farms that supply skins to luxury brand Hermès,” the group says.
Actor Joaquin Phoenix narrates a video released with the probe’s findings. It shows vast, concrete-enclosed crocodile farms in Texas and Zimbabwe.
In the video, workers described sending the hides of the reptiles to Hermes' croc leather suppliers -- and even mention the Birkin bags by name.
PETA praised Birkin for her public slap at the company that she has had ties with for decades.
“Birkin bags once marked people as celebrities or at least members of the super-rich, but soon, no one will want to be caught dead carrying one. On behalf of all kind souls in the world, we thank Ms. Birkin for ending her association with Hermès and we call on Hermès to do the right things and stop plundering wildlife, factory-farming crocodiles and alligators and slaughtering them for their skin,” a PETA spokesman said.
Birkin struck up a friendship with the head of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, in the 1980s, and agreed to let the company put her name on a line of women’s bags.
The crocodile Birkin and the Kelly bag, named after actress Grace Kelly, are among the company’s most sought-after luxury goods.
The cheapest start at around $20,000 and go up from there.
Victoria Beckham caused an international sensation when her soccer star husband purchased a diamond-studded silver Himalayan Birkin for her back in 2009.
It was reported then that he had to pull major strings to get one because the waiting list was four years.
A look on eBay found a similar bag for the going price of $99,000.