Birkin Controversy

Birkin to Hermès: Take my name off your bag after Texas alligator farm expose; new V'irkin emerges

Birkin to Hermès: Take my name off your bag after Texas expose

News_Hermes_Birkin_Jan 2011
Hermès Birkin crocodile handbag.
The V'irkin bag, alternative to Birkin bag
The V'irkin handbag from Friends of Animals is an animal cruelty-free alternative. Photo Courtesy of Friends of Animals
Hermes Birkin bags purses
The Hermès Birkin bag in a variety of colors. OMGTrends.com
V'irkin bag, animal cruelty free alternative to Birkin bag
The V'irkin bag retails for $400, with 20 percent of proceeds going to PETA. Photo Courtesy of Friends of Animals
Hermes crocodile Birkin bag
Hermès Birkin crocodile handbag. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions
News_Hermes_Birkin_Jan 2011
The V'irkin bag, alternative to Birkin bag
Hermes Birkin bags purses
V'irkin bag, animal cruelty free alternative to Birkin bag
Hermes crocodile Birkin bag

After being alerted to cruel slaughtering practices at a Texas alligator farm that supplies skins for Hermès handbags, British singer Jane Birkin has asked the French luxury company to remove her name from the iconic and pricey bag named for her.

Birkin released a statement asking Hermes" to de-baptize the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place."

 Offering a fashionable alternative to the Birkin, Freedom of Animals, in collaboration with PETA, has created the first-ever vegan Birkin bag, the V'irkin

 The Birkin bag was created in 1984 after the singer and Hermes CEO Jean-Louis Dumas struck up a conversation during a flight about the perfect handbag when her bag tumbled to the floor and all its contents fell out.

It remains one of the world's most exclusive luxury items, costing tens of thousands of collars (in one case, a croc, white gold and diamond Birkin went for $432,000) with famously long waiting lists. In addition to crocodile, Birkins come in ostrich, calf and lizard.

In a statement the company said, that it "respects and shares (Birkin's) emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast" and has launched an investigation at the Texas farm implicated in the video.

Hermès acknowledged that the Lone Star Alligator Farms in Winnie, about 50 miles east of Houston, supplies it with crocodile skins, but says they aren't used specifically for the Birkin bag. Hermès also sells crocodile watchstraps and other bags.

A video of activities at the farm, taken by the animal rights group People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in June, "shows several reptiles left twitching in a bloody ice container to die after being shot with a captive bolt gun and cut with a knife, " the Associated Press reports.

Steve Lightfoot, a spokesman for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, which regulates the commercial production and harvesting of alligators in Texas, told the AP that Lone Star Alligator Farms has a current permit and is operating legally.

Offering a fashionable alternative to the Birkin, Freedom of Animals, in collaboration with PETA, has created the first-ever vegan Birkin bag, the V'irkin. Freedom of Animals designer Morgan Bogle designed the moc-croc handbag, which is made from eco-faux leather with organic cotton lining. It comes in a rich wine faux boa with deep red sides, decorative tassels and a detachable cross body strap.

The V'irkin is available on Freedom of Animals website for $400, and 20 percent of each sale will be donated to PETA.