Explosive new footage and images supplied to Kindness Project by Farm Transparency Project reveal the appalling conditions in which iconic Australian saltwater crocodiles are being forced to live, on farms owned by luxury French fashion house Hermès.
If we are to truly admire the magnificence of crocodiles and respect their sentience and individuality, it only makes sense we leave them in peace and do not slaughter them to wear their skins.
Fortunately, the world of fashion is slowly coming to protect crocodiles and other reptiles, banning exotic skins from their collections, pages and photoshoots.
Read on to learn more, and to peruse an ethical shopping guide of croc-like alternative products.
Banned by luxury fashion brands
Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Victoria Beckham and Mulberry are some of the most recent luxury fashion brands to commit to not using exotic skins in their designs.
Importantly, Vivienne Westwood also made the modern, fashion-forward choice to not only end her use of exotic skins, but begin to create vegan handbags. This choice meant that people who want to extend compassion not only to crocodiles, but to all animals, could support the brand. While the brand is not free from animal materials, this is a positive step in the right direction.
Westwood’s ‘Jungle Crocodile Bag’, made of vegan leather.
Cruelty-free pledges by creatives and celebrities
Plenty of high fashion photographers, models and celebrities are refusing to photograph and wear crocodile and ‘exotic’ skins. This is largely thanks to a campaign by prominent photographer Alexi Lubomirski, called Creatives 4 Change.
Taking this stand is an inevitable response for many people; when we find out how archaic and cruel an industry is, we no longer want to support it. Some notable names standing against this violent industry include Jennifer Anniston, Eva Mendes, and Kate Winslet.
Individual choices combined are always powerful. Even if fashion brands like Hermès continue to brutally slaughter native animals for the sake of fashion, if no photographers will photograph them, and no models or celebrities will wear and endorse them, these products will become less desirable. Cruel products will be lesser able to be marketed as anything other than what they really are – outdated, unsustainable, unethical, unfashionable.
Truly cruelty-free croc-style accessories
It’s undeniable that the unique texture of crocodile skin is beautiful. Fortunately, if you want to wear something with this texture, without slaughtering a wild animal, there are plenty of ethically made, vegan bags, shoes, wallets and belts on the market.
It’s important that ‘exotic skins’ are not simply replaced with the skins of other animals, as this does not end animal slaughter and cruelty, but simply replaces the victim. Cows, the most commonly exploited animals in fashion, are thinking and feeling beings too.
Some material alternatives include:
- Polyurethane, which has half the eco-impact of conventional leather
- Bio-oil based polyurethane, making use of grain not petroleum oil
- Water-based polyurethane, removing the need for oil entirely
- Innovative ‘leather’ made from mango fruit waste, currently used by Luxtra
- MulbTexTM by Gunas, made of a mulberry leaf pulp base
- Embossed natural cork, harvested from living tree bark
Ethically made vegan ‘croc’ bags
- Alexandra K (and Australian stockist The V Spot)
- Sans Beast
- Kinds of Grace
- Collection and Co
- Ashoka Paris
- JW Pei
- Poppy Lissiman
- Urban Originals
Ethically made vegan ‘croc’ wallets and small clutches
Ethically made vegan ‘croc’ shoes
Please note that there are plenty more vegan labels than these, but just as we stand for the rights of animals, we stand for the rights of garment workers and won’t promote unethical labels.