UPDATE: Jane Birkin Is 'Satisfied' With Investigation into Hermès' Treatment of Crocodiles

09/14/2015 at 08:25 AM ET

Birkin bags — with their years-long wait lists, five-digit price tags and cult-like celebrity following — have long been considered a status symbol. But they got a surprising downgrade in July when their namesake, British singer and style icon Jane Birkin, asked Hermès to rename the bags after PETA alerted her to treatment of crocodiles used to create the bag’s most luxe iteration. Now Hermès says they have proven their case, and Birkin is “satisifed” that her name can remain on the style.

Jane Birkin and Hermès Birkin BagGetty; Courtesy Hermes


“Following the heartfelt emotion expressed by Jane Birkin and her request for explanation, Hermès, in agreement with her, reiterates its firm commitment in the ethical treatment of crocodiles in its partner farms,” the brand said in a statement, according to Vogue UK.

The statement goes on to say that the video obtained by PETA was “an isolated incident” and that they would undertake regular inspections to ensure it remained that way — which PETA refuted in its own statement, saying, “Jane Birkin is a good person, and we think she has been given false assurances by Hermès.”

In July, after seeing footage of crocodile farms obtained by PETA (which the organization published footage of on its website), Birkin released a statement to the AFP. “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,” she said.

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In response, Hermès released the following statement to PEOPLE: “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.”

The statement continues: “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.”

Celebrities carrying Birkin bagsTMAX/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images; INF photo

Celebrities are notoriously fond of Birkin bags — many willing to wait as long as it takes (or pay an upward of $150,000) to sling one over their shoulders. Ashley Tisdale, for example, once waited two years for this cobalt blue handbag. And Eric Johnson surprised (his then fiancée) Jessica Simpson with an orange one for her 31st birthday. Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian West, Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Lopez have all been spotted carrying croc versions.

Crocodile handbags: What’s your stance? Share your thoughts below.

RELATED VIDEO: 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Outfit Instantly

–Lindsay Schallon

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Showing 26 comments

jeans75 on

Good for her!

THERE IS NO ‘HUMANE’ OR ‘BETTER’ WAY TO MAKE–ANYTHING–OUT OF AN ANIMAL PERIOD. THE ANIMAL NEEDS TO BE LEFT ALONE—NOT TORTURED FOR SOME COMPANY TO MANY MONEY OFF OF! THE CRIES, THE SCREAMS, THE FIGHT, THE BLOOD, ARE ALL THINGS NO ONE THINKS OF WHEN PURCHASING ANYTHING MADE OF AN ANIMAL. AND YES, AS SOON AS I FOUND OUT WHAT ‘LEATHER’ REALLY WAS AND EVERYTHING ELSE I TURNED MY BACK ON IT–MORALLY IT WAS TOO HORRIFIC TO BE PART OF. IT IS MORE CHALLENGING TO MAKE THINGS OUT OF NON-ANIMAL GOODS == WHICH CAN BE DONE AND WON’T HURT ANYONE—BUT THEN THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ILLUSION OF OWNING A BAG ‘WORTH TENS OF THOUSANDS’ GOES RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW — WHEN THEY WERE NEVER WORTH THAT MUCH TO BEGIN WITH–IT IS A THOUGHTLESS PROCESS TO BUY SOMETHING THAT LOOKS PRETTY—IT IS SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY TO ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT GOES INTO ITS MAKING.

THE BAGS ARE OVERPRICED, AND THE ANIMALS ARE GOTTEN FOR ALMOST NOTHING AND THEN TORTURED FOR NOTHING–TO HAVE A PURSE HANGING IN PLACE OF ANY REAL SELF-ESTEEM ALL WHILE WORRYING ABOUT WHAT A PURSE ONE CARRIES MAKES THEM ‘FEEL’ LIKE AS PART OF A GROUP. JUST THINK IF IT WERE THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

L on

Hermes products are just beautiful so Mrs Birkin

Crixus on

IS there a humane way to kill or skin an animal? I don’t think so! How about we just leave the animals alone!

JD on

I love Hermes products. So beautiful. And that bag is gorgeous!! Sorry crocodile.. :/
The comment below, do you think people will read your message more because it’s all in caps? It only made me skip it.

Lucy Pepper on

How is this different from poaching big game in Africa? Just because they’re not endangered (yet) means they can be skinned for freaking fashion?! Instead of its head on your wall, it’s belly is across your arm. FFS!

Gross!

L on

Hey (so-called) celebrities and wasteful rich people – Instead, how about taking the $150,000 is costs to own one of these bags and do something good with that money, – like feed the poor locally or abroad. Give it to any worthy charity that will make good use of the money. How many people could be helped? Such a waste to spend such frivolity on a handbag that will rot and rust, just like every other thing in this world. The people creating, making and buying these should be ashamed more about their own personal values!

Ella on

The bags are truly works of art. Much ado about nothing.

Dottie on

I have never understood the desire for this purse – I’ve always thought it was an ugly bag – the opening seems very tight and hard to open, etc. – ridiculous money to pay just to have a status image.

Terri on

UGLY bags!

Susan on

What is the point of anything that comes from an animal or harms an animal to be used for vanity? That goes for purses, make up, etc.
All you commenters who are so enamoured with the beauty of a purse are feeling that way because your minds are as empty as the posessions you so covet.
when did things become more important that suffering and compassion.

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