Jane Birkin asks Hermes to take her name off croc handbag

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Actress Jane Birkin asks Hermes to remove her name from bag.

PARIS (AP) – British singer Jane Birkin says she’s asked Hermes to take her name off the crocodile-skin versions of the iconic Birkin handbag, after being contacted by animal rights group PETA over slaughtering practices.The actor, singer and style icon publicly asked the luxury fashion brand to rename the ‘Birkin’ following her concerns over animal cruelty in producing the bags, according to The Independent.Hermes International SCA said it will penalize any breach of its animal welfare code after Jane Birkin voiced concern over crocodile slaughter methods in the luxury industry.

A PETA video from June shows the reptiles at a Texan farm that supplies Hermes, left twitching in a bloody container after being shot with a captive bolt gun and crudely cut. Birkin said she had signed actor Joaquin Phoenix’s Mercy For Animals petition to “shed exotic skins from your wardrobe” in protest against the “millions of reptiles slaughtered each year and turned into shoes, handbags, belts and other accessories.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, said it had released a video, narrated by Phoenix and which Birkin had seen, showing how live reptiles were skinned or sawed open on farms that supplied luxury brands. In a statement obtained by the AP Wednesday, Birkin said that she was “alerted to the cruel practices … to make Hermes handbags carrying my name” and has “asked Hermes to debaptize the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place.”

The crocodile Birkin and the Kelly bag, named after actress Grace Kelly, are among the most sought-after luxury goods – even though the starting retail price is more than $22,096 — partly because shops routinely run out of them. Birkin bags, the company’s most iconic product, account for about 15 percent of Hermes’s sales, according to Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas in London. Customers can obtain one either by putting their name on a waiting list or by paying hefty fees to specialized buyers who scout for the bags on their behalf.

She called on Hermès to ”stop plundering wildlife, factory-farming crocodiles and alligators and slaughtering them for their skins.” “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,” she added.PHOTO: EALUXE The prices of these luxury bags range from £6,700 to £100,000. A fuchsia Hermes crocodile Birkin bag with a diamond-studded clasp and lock set a record as the most expensive handbag ever sold at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong last month, fetching $222,000. Hermes said that it’s investigating the Texas farm, which it doesn’t own, and that crocodile skins it gets from that supplier aren’t used for Birkin bags.

The Birkin bags are “franchise builders,” in the sense that “they overwhelmingly contribute to define what Hermes is,” Exane’s Solca said by e-mail. “Many customers purchase other Hermes products to graduate into buying one of these bags, which are not easy to find and build a rarity mystique.” Hermes’s Birkin was created after a chance meeting in the 1980s between former CEO Jean-Louis Dumas and Jane Birkin, who told him what she wanted in a bag after the contents of the one she was using fell out of an airplane overhead compartment, according to Time magazine. “Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years,” the company said. “Hermes respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.”

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