In a recent Parisian showdown, animal rights group PETA brought their protest directly to the Hermès boutique. Sporting a t-shirt saying “Hermès Stinks of Death” and armed with a sign demanding an end to exotic skins, an activist managed to ignite a stink bomb in the iconic Rue de Sèvres boutique – quickly turning heads (and noses).
Consequently, the protester in question was promptly ejected from the store.
PETA’s Vice President for Europe, Mimi Bekhechi minced no words:
“It is high time Hermès stopped turning its nose up at animal rights — an issue of major importance to today’s consumers, who reject industries that confine and torture animals. We urge the company to turn its back on these archaic and cruel materials, which stink of death.”
PETA’s focus on Hermès spans years, marked by various notable incidents this year. Their persistent campaign against the crocodile skin Birkin bags has been relentless, seen through runway infiltrations and Mumbai protests, just to name a few. Ethical concerns and public health risks underpin PETA’s consistent push for Hermès to shift away from exotics.
After the passing of actress and singer Jane Birkin, PETA intensified their plea, urging the French fashion house to cease production of crocodile skin handbags, advocating “let no more wildlife be sacrificed in her memory.”
Their proactive stance persisted – during the brand’s spring 2024 runway in October, a PETA protestor stealthily entered, strolling down the catwalk with a protest sign in hand. Yet, their march met an abrupt end when fashion influencer Bryanboy swiftly grabbed the sign away. This series of events marks just a fraction of PETA’s ongoing efforts against Hermès’ use of exotics.
While other luxury houses may have heeded the call to stop using exotics, Hermès remains resolutely silent in response to PETA’s appeals. As a result, the standoff between luxury fashion and ethical responsibility remains.
How do you envision the future of high-end fashion? Do you think bags will be produced in exotic skins for years to come?
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Of course I care deeply for animals and never want a living creature to be hurt but I don’t understand the difference between Petas wanting exotic animals banned versus Togo leather or any other leather or grocery stores selling steaks. They all come from a living creature. Doesn’t make sense.
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