No more Birkin bags

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jane Birkin asks Hermes to take name off crocodile handbag.

AFP An employee holds a 129,000 USD crocodile-skin Hermes “Birkin” bag. 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. British singer-actress Jane Birkin asked French luxury group Hermes to rename the mythical Hermes crocodile bag series bearing her name, “until better practices that meet international standards” are in place for the slaughter of these animals. 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’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”. 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. 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.

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.” 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. The crocodile version, which costs at least €33,000 (US$36,000, RM137,055), is one of Hermes’s best-known products, along with its silk scarves and purses named after Grace Kelly. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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. Welcoming Birkin’s decision, PETA said on its website Tuesday: “On behalf of all kind souls in the world, we thank Ms Birkin for ending her association with Hermes.” 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. 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 ($1 = 0.9051 euros). 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.

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. 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. Use the edge of a table or desk – just make sure you fold a thick towel or blanket over it first.” “Hold his penis in one hand and lightly slap it with the other,” the magazine offers in advice less likely to lead to a happy ending than humiliation and confusion. “You can tap it back and forth like you’re volleying a tennis ball and lightly pinch the skin on his shaft and testicles.

Many women make the mistake of being too gentle.” There’s the “glazed doughnut” tip where they laughably suggest women “Gently stick his penis through the hole … and slowly nibble around it, stopping to suck him once in a while …” “If you’re out in public but want to make your intentions clear, slowly and firmly flick your tongue against the palm of her hand,” Men’s Health suggests. “If she just wipes it off down her skirt, you’ve blown it.” “That being said, we’ll always be here to help you decode dating. So let’s be clear: You’re welcome to make a grilled cheese for anyone you love, but you shouldn’t be whipping one up in an effort to lock the all-important ‘him’ down. (That’s just a waste of Gruyere.) “What we want for you is love based on equality, not indentured servitude with date night. Taking him back to third grade with a gentle tease over anything from how you’ll dominate him on the basketball court to the weird way he just styled his hair.

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