The Hermès Birkin bag. Known to most by just Birkin alone, the notorious handbag is one of the most sought after luxury goods on the market to date. Retailing at an average minimum of $20,000 to upwards of $200,000 — the Hermès Birkin bag sky-rocketed to fame after the media exposed its celebrity cult-like following. This week, the actress and singer behind the coveted bag Jane Birkin, requested that Hermès remove her name from the best-seller, due to the cruel slaughtering practices at crocodile farms where the Birkin skins were thought to have been obtained.
“I have asked Hermès to rename the Birkin Croco until they adopt better practices that meet international standards for the production of this bag,” Birkin commented in a recent statement. The division comes shortly after the release of a June 23 YouTube video posted by PETA exhibiting cruel practices at reptile farms in Texas and Zimbabwe — both farms who claim to source the crocodile skins for Hermès. Animals (as graphically shown in the video) were being “barbarically” hacked and skinned while conscious.
Although Hermès released its own statement and further commented that its skins were not obtained from the Texas farm, a complete investigation is still underway. As the 68-year-old actress helped to create one of the most highly demanded luxury bags on the market, Hermès respectfully remains cordial with Birkin’s decision. “Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years,” the brand claims.
The Birkin bag was birthed after Hermès’ prior chairman Jean-Louis Dumas sat next to the actress on a 1984 flight. After complaints of not being able to find a bag large enough to suit her, Dumas offered to design a bag for Birkin that was both large and stylish – and thus, the classic Birkin was born. Decades later, luxury good lovers clamor for the purchase of the exclusive bag, often waiting for months on an invite-only waiting list to purchase.
In light of these recent developments, it will be interesting to follow the renaming of the bag (if any), the pricing of the bag at auctions and consignment stores, and most importantly its listing on private markets. Hermès posted a significant rise in profits for its second-quarter, thus bidding the question of whether demands will stabilize following Jane Birkin’s division from the brand.