ICYMI: Fashion icon Jane Birkin made headlines last week after she became concerned with the ethical treatment of reptiles and asked Hermès to remove her name from the crocodile version of her eponymous It-bag.
"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," read the statement from the actress and singer. The move followed a recent report published by PETA, looking into the treatment of alligators and crocodiles at a Texas farm, which, the organisation claimed, was owned by luxury brand Hermès and used to make the Birkin bag.
However, now the French fashion house has responded to the claims, stating that they are deeply affected by the recent report but denying that they own the farm. While they have assured their customers it is not a source for Birkin bag reptile skins, the statement did hint that it may be a source for other products, stating that "an investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video. Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned."
"Hermès imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles," read the statement. "For more than 10 years, we have organised monthly visits to our suppliers. We control their practices and their conformity with slaughter standards established by veterinary experts and by the Fish and Wildlife Service (a federal American organisation for the protection of nature) and with the rules established under the aegis of the UNO, by the Washington Convention of 1973 which defines the protection of endangered species."
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Despite all the headlines, Hermès has backed up its long-time muse, respecting her views and providing assurance that their relationship is not tainted. "Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles," read the statement. "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."
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Birkin also said she had signed one of actor Joaquin Phoenix's Mercy For Animals petitions, in particular, one that called for action on "shedding exotic skins from your wardrobe" and protested against the use of reptile skins in luxury fashion.
In addition to the above, it was also reported last week that PETA has bought a share in Hermès, which will allow a representative from the organisation to attend the annual meeting, ask questions and voice concerns. Though, it's doubtful a single share will garner any real influence or change.
The Hermès crocodile Birkin and Kelly bags are among two of the most coveted luxury goods in the world and can cost upwards of $25,000. Just last month, a fuchsia crocodile Birkin bag with a diamond-studded clasp became the most expensive bag in the world when it sold at a Christie's auction in Hong Kong for HK$1.72 million ($290,000).
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