Jane Birken, the British singer and actress, whose name became synonymous with the wait-list luxury handbag is requesting her name taken off the bag in order to disassociate herself with the unethical treatment of crocodiles. She claims that Hermes, the purveyor of coveted hand-crafted desirables and creator of the bag, is buying crocodile skins with poorly treated animals according to recent expose’ from PETA. The PETA video exposes inhuman treatment at farms from Texas to Zimbawae.
Hermes originally declined comment but a comment reported this week in WWD tries to mitigate the issue. According to WWD, “Her (Jane Birkin) comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years. Hermes’ 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. Hermes’s specifics that this farm does not belong to them and that the crocodile skins supplied are not for the fabrication of Birkin bags,” they said. “Hermes’ imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment for crocodiles, and have monthly visits to suppliers for more than a decade.” They continued, “Hermes’ controls their practices and makes sure they respect slaughter standards established by veterinary experts and by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a federal agency, and rules established under the authority of the United Nations and international conventions on the protection of endangered species. said a Hermes’ representative.
The Birken bag was created in 1980 out of an encounter Jane had on a plane with a member of the Hermes’ family. It has been reported that the contents of her bag fell out everywhere and she complained that she has difficulty finding a good bag. The person went back to the office with intentions of creating a bag in her honor. The Birken bag is not only fabricated with crocodile skins but calf-hair, lizard and other materials. Ms. Birkin wants her name removed from the crocodile version only.
Hopefully, Hermes’ statement smoothed the issue. The brand is known for quality and slow crafting luxury goods and the PETA issue seems uncharacteristic for the much coveted company.