Jane Birkin (The Person) Asking Hermès To Not Call Crocodile Birkins (The Bag) As “Birkins”
Unless they fix the allegations that the crocodile farms stop the cruelty imposed upon the gentle giants, as per the video PETA published on their YouTube channel.
It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a most coveted iconic fashion accessory (by one of the biggest leather handbag purveyors) to name a product after you. As a consumer, it’s easy to forget that the name Birkin is more than just a bag’s name, It is in fact in an actual person’s name. And when a product is so high stakes, so controversial, and rather highly superfluous (especially with exotic skins), would you do the same if you found out how the leather is procured?
Multi-talented singer, actress, director Jane Birkin who had a serendipitous meeting with the then Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas in a rather bag-related ordeal in a plane on 1984 led to what we now know fondly as the holy grail of bags: the Birkin. This story’s been told over and over for so long and has been a cult story passed on or read by countless people drooling to have one, or people carrying it all over the world.
However, this week’s scandal passed on and read by countless people is all about the crocodile Birkins. They’ve been making headlines before for it’s extravagant prices, and has been the epitome of luxury known for fashionistas everywhere: exotic skins and the hefty amounts people pay to get them. Seems Jane was made aware of the alleged cruel practices of Hermès crocodile farms and how they are “harvested” to be turned into expensive, elusive, top of the line luxury handbags, watchbands, et cetera.
See the video below. CAUTION: not for the faint-hearted.
There are some cases where PETA goes overboard. Then there are some cases when PETA actually does makes sense. It is never nice to see any living creature being slaughtered. Whether cowhide, or otherwise. Any leather, whether politically correct or not, always come from bloodshed.
And PETA’s YouTube channel seems to be picking on one of the fashion industry’s Goliath: Hermès. Videos like this look like propaganda. And though there are very interesting points raised in their protest, it is highly possible that these will drive exotic skin luxury goods market even higher, making it even more elusive. But is it enough to make fashionistas turn their backs against a crocodile Birkin?
If you were Jane Birkin, would you do the same? Use your voice and push for change? Challenge an iconic by-product of your influence (and could potentially be one of Jane’s lifelong stamp in the fashion industry) to fight for what is right?
Even more so, are you fond of exotic skins? If money wasn’t an issue – would you choose exotic skins over regular leather?
Images from Christie’s.