Only a handful of lucky women have had a designer handbag named after them and former actress Jane Birkin is one of the most well-known examples. However, that may soon change. The namesake for the iconic Hermès Birkin bag has asked for her name to be disassociated with the crocodile version of the handbag after PETA reported on animal cruelty conditions involved in its manufacturing process.
"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," Birkin (below) said in a statement.
In a statement to People, Hermès said that it is launching an investigation into the practices at the Texas farm that was featured in PETA's report and that "any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned."
The brand also said: "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.”
Since its 1984 creation, which came about from a chance meeting of Jane Birkin and then-Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas on a plane, the handbag has grown to become a status symbol and celebrity favorite (Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham are famous owners). The Birkin, which can run up to $150,000 (the crocodile version starts around $36,000) is also known for having a years-long waiting list.