Birkin bags — with their years-long wait lists, five-digit price tags and cult-like celebrity following — have long been considered a status symbol. But they got a surprising downgrade in July when their namesake, British singer and style icon Jane Birkin, asked Hermès to rename the bags after PETA alerted her to treatment of crocodiles used to create the bag’s most luxe iteration. Now Hermès says they have proven their case, and Birkin is “satisifed” that her name can remain on the style.
Getty; Courtesy Hermes
“Following the heartfelt emotion expressed by Jane Birkin and her request for explanation, Hermès, in agreement with her, reiterates its firm commitment in the ethical treatment of crocodiles in its partner farms,” the brand said in a statement, according to Vogue UK.
The statement goes on to say that the video obtained by PETA was “an isolated incident” and that they would undertake regular inspections to ensure it remained that way — which PETA refuted in its own statement, saying, “Jane Birkin is a good person, and we think she has been given false assurances by Hermès.”
In July, after seeing footage of crocodile farms obtained by PETA (which the organization published footage of on its website), Birkin released a statement to the AFP. “Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermès handbags carrying my name … I have asked Hermès to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place,” she said.
In response, Hermès released the following statement to PEOPLE: “Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years. Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.”
The statement continues: “An investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video. Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned. Hermès specifies that this farm does not belong to them and that the crocodile skins supplied are not used for the fabrication of Birkin bags.”
TMAX/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images; INF photo
Celebrities are notoriously fond of Birkin bags — many willing to wait as long as it takes (or pay an upward of $150,000) to sling one over their shoulders. Ashley Tisdale, for example, once waited two years for this cobalt blue handbag. And Eric Johnson surprised (his then fiancée) Jessica Simpson with an orange one for her 31st birthday. Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian West, Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Lopez have all been spotted carrying croc versions.
Crocodile handbags: What’s your stance? Share your thoughts below.
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