Jane Birkin wants her name taken off the iconic Hermes bag

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

PARIS — Actress and singer Jane Birkin has asked Hermes to remove her name from one of the luxury goods maker’s best-selling bags due to what she called “cruel” crocodile farming and slaughtering practices. “I have asked Hermes to rename the Birkin Croco until they adopt better practices that meet international standards for the production of this bag,” Birkin said in a statement to the media yesterday (July 28). 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. Birkin’s statement comes after a report and video by PETA found that “crocodiles and alligators are packed into filthy pools or concrete pits by the thousands – and all are killed for their skins before reaching adulthood”. 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”.

The Birkin bag was so named after Hermes chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas sat next to Jane Birkin on a flight in 1981, where Birkin complained of how hard it was to find a leather bag she liked. 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. 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). Since then, it’s become so iconic that defacing a Birkin bag has become a pastime for irreverent celebrities, from Kanye West to Lady Gaga and even Jane Birkin herself. One does not simply buy a Birkin, which retails for anywhere between $13,000 to $100,000, an interested party must have their name added to the infamous Hermes wait list.

Hermes respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast. “An investigation is under way at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video. We control their practices and their conformity with slaughter standards established by veterinary experts and by the Fish and Wildlife (a federal American organisation for the protection of nature) and with the rules established under the aegis of the U.N., by the Washington Convention of 1973 which defines the protection of endangered species.”

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