The Hermès Birkin bag is an undisputed fashion
icon. Its story is an endearing one, the bag being named after the
British actress and singer Jane Birkin, who in 1981 sat next to the
then Hermès CEO on a flight, and grumbled about her
inability to find the perfect weekend bag (life was hard in the
80s). Not long after, Birkin(the person) received the first
Birkin(the bag) at her apartment with a note from the CEO. Thirty
years on and the bag has become the most wanted in fashiondom
– allegedly unable to even be purchased by normal
But the romantic tale has taken a nasty turn. As a result of an
investigation by PETA into the treatment of crocodiles allegedly
used in the manufacture of the uber-expensive crocoversion of the
bag, Birkin has released a public request asking Hermès to
'debaptise' the bag and stop using her name until they
treat their crocs better. There's even a graphic video of the
abuse on YouTube.
Whether Jane can actually prevent Hermès from using her
name (despite them trade marking the hell out of it) is complicated
and governed by different laws in every country. Regardless, the
brand damage could be much worse. Considering that most of the
mystique around the bag has been created by mega celebrities being
snapped toting a Birkin, a boycott may only be a
Not that we want to start anything, but #banthebirkin is pretty
Hermès has released a statement saying that they're
investigating, they actually inspect all of their suppliers
personally every month, and anyway the suppliers in question
don't even provide them with croc.
If they are to be believed, the fallout Hermès is
experiencing is despite them doing everything right: ensuring their
suppliers are doing the right thing and even checking in on them in
person. Have a look
here for our other tips on being an ethical brand.
We do not disclaim anything about this article. We're
quite proud of it really.
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