People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants Victoria Beckham to reconsider her love of exotic skins. Fresh off its indictment of the appalling conditions maintained by some of HermÃ©s’s crocodile- and alligator-skin suppliers, the animal-rights group has sent the British fashion designer/erstwhile Spice Girl/noted Birkin bag enthusiast a cruelty-free version of the coveted carryall to call her own. Crafted in the United States by Freedom of Animals, a sustainable label that has been referred to as the “CÃ©line of vegan fashion,” the one-of-a-kind “V”irkin (the “V” stands for “vegan,” natch) features “mock croc” faux leather in a rich burgundy hue.
Gossip has it that Beckham owns at least 100 Birkins, the most basic of which starts at $10,500. The former Posh Spice, of course, is anything but basic. She’s said to own far spendier versions decked in pink ostrich and diamond-studded crocodile leathers.
“Every Birkin bag means that a beautiful, sensitive animal endured a miserable life and experienced a gruesome death,” wrote PETA U.K. staffer Anne Clark on the organization’s blog on Thursday. “We hope the gorgeous ‘V’irkin bag will inspire Victoria to embrace vegan fashion and leave all exotic-animal skins out of her wardrobe and clothing line, as sheâs already done with fur.
This isn’t the first time PETA’s has asked Beckham, who eschews animal fur, both personally and professionally, to swear off exotic skins. In 2011, Dan Matthews, senior vice president of PETA, dashed off a letter describing the way farmed reptiles are beaten over the head, nailed to trees, or pumped full of water before they’re skinned alive.
Although representatives from Beckham’s label have assured PETA that any items made from animal skins adhere to guidelines set by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, PETA contends that it doesn’t excuse the “atrocious ways” in which animals are confined and killed.