News & Trends: The coveted Birkin bag has long been a staple in the world of high-fashion and the French fashion house, Hermès, has made a bold business move to meet the growing demand. Hermès Joint Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Thomas, announced at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit in Paris that the fashion house has resorted to farming crocodiles in Australia.
According to Thomas, Hermès produces 3,000 crocodile skin bags each year, which simply is not enough to meet the increasing international demand. With a limited supply, thousands of eager fashionistas are left on what seems to be a never ending waiting list.
"It can take three to four crocodiles to make one of our bags so we are now breeding our own crocodiles on our own farms, mainly in Australia," Thomas said in Paris.
While it may seem barbaric to some, the concept of raising crocodiles for the sole purpose of fashion, is hardly a new practice. Animal activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has expressed grave concerns over the usage of crocodile skin in the fashion industry.
"The thought of purposely breeding and killing crocodiles for an outdated, overpriced handbag should make any fashionista's skin crawl," said PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews in a statement on the PETA Web site.
"If Hermès really wants to be a leader in the fashion industry, it should stop killing animals for cold-blooded vanity and use cruelty-free mock croc and fake snake instead."
While there will always be those who stand on both sides of the fence, the underlying question of humanity remains one that must be answered by the consumer. The practice of using animals in the name of fashion may be frowned upon by some, but with the price of a Hermès' crocodile skin handbag costing upwards of $49,000, there is no denying that there are those who feel otherwise.
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