Jane Birkin asks Hermès to take her name off its iconic Birkin bag following …

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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.British singer Jane Birkin has asked luxury manufacturer Hermes to remove her name from its crocodile-skin handbag after learning of the “cruel” methods used to make the iconic accessory. The undercover video by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) exposed the crocodile and alligator farms in Zimbabwe and Texas — that were allegedly supplying Hermès with the leather for their bags — prompted the 68-year-old actor to take the decision.PHOTO: FASHIONTIMES The video reveals cruel treatment to crocodiles and their poor living conditions.

Costing tens of thousands of euros, the Birkin bag is a symbol of wealth and is much-loved by celebrities, but the version made out of crocodile skin has attracted the ire of animal rights activists. “Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermes handbags carrying my name… 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”. I have asked Hermes to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place,” Birkin, 68, said in a statement. 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.

The luxury brand also said that an investigation was being conducted into the farm’s practices and that “any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned”. 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. 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 bag has since become a celebrities’ favourite, beloved of Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian and characters in the popular Sex and the City television series, among others.

Customers can obtain one either by putting their name on a waiting list or by paying hefty fees to specialised buyers who scout for the bags on their behalf. The crocodile version, which costs at least ₣33,000 euros (Dh132,000), is one of Hermes’s best-known products, along with its silk scarves and purses named after Grace Kelly. 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 US$222,000 (S$302,950). But the cherished handbags recently became the focus of an expose by rights group Peta on crocodile farms from Texas to Zimbabwe, where the reptiles are allegedly crammed into barren concrete pits before being “cruelly hacked” to death. “At just one year old, alligators are shot with a captive-bolt gun or crudely cut into while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain,” Peta said. “The investigator saw alligators continuing to move their legs and tails in the bleed rack and in bloody ice bins several minutes after their attempted slaughter,” it added.

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 20,000 euros ($22,096) – partly because shops routinely run out of them. Hermes said it imposed on its suppliers the highest ethical standards regarding the treatment of crocodiles and for more than a decade, had conducted monthly checks on them to ensure that they were respected. In a previous response to the controversy over its crocodile-skin bags, the company said all the farms it works with respect the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and that an audit was underway in one of the farms fingered by Peta. Birkin is perhaps best known as the former wife of late French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, who penned some of the songs that catapulted her to fame. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles.

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