In a world too cynical to hold onto fairy tales for any more than an instant, the good people of this planet have turned to their own devices to dream up mythologies — and few are more powerful than that of the Hermès Birkin bag. If they could just have one, some women tell themselves, all their earthly woes would disappear. It’s the stuff of legends, racking up five-figure credit card charges and relegating even its most famous and powerful fans to years-long waitlists to get their hands on one. It just may be the world’s last true status symbol. (I kid.)
Now, change is underfoot for that classic mainstay. The bag’s inspiration, it-girl Jane Birkin (now 68), is horrified by the cruelty behind the crocodile Birkin, one of the most popular styles in the collection. According to People, Birkin released a statement to the AFP after PETA shared results of an investigation into the way crocodiles are slaughtered for the bags:
“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.”
“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…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.”
So, does that mean Hermès is going to take serious action? Perhaps only if its wealthy clientele objects to the animal cruelty as well, which isn’t too much of a reach — many celebs are nothing if not passionate about animal rights. Time will tell!