Chanel has banned the use of exotic skins on all their products - why this matters

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Amiaya twins at Paris Fashion Week SS19
Amiaya twins at Paris Fashion Week SS19

Luxury Parisian fashion house, Chanel, has announced that they will no longer be using the exotic skins of snakes, crocodiles, lizards and galuchat (stingrays) to make their products. 

This week's victory for ethical fashion has been sparked by the label's challenges with sourcing ethically and responsibly produced exotic skins, their head of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky declared on Monday.

“We are continually reviewing our supply chains to ensure they meet our expectations of integrity and traceability. In this context, it is our experience that it is becoming increasingly difficult to source exotic skins which match our ethical standards,” the luxury brand said in a statement. 

According to Business of Fashion (BOF), this now makes Chanel the first and biggest luxury fashion label to shed exotic skins. 

A number of luxury labels including the likes of Gucci, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Versace, and Maison Margiela all ditched fur over the past year or two, but the movement against exotic skins hasn't quite taken off in the same way.

With regards to fur, Chanel's veteran designer Karl Lagerfeld told Women’s Wear Daily that the label seldom uses fur - so much so that he cannot recall the last time it appeared on their runway shows. Dropping exotic skins then is something they did "because it's in the air. It’s a free choice," Lagerfeld declared.

Diane von Furstenberg is just one of a handful of fashion bigwigs who've opted out of the use of exotic skins, and now they are joined by Chanel.

The highly sought after shoes, handbags, and coats made from exotic skins, which are the brand's biggest revenue generators have now all been removed from the brand's website. 

Chanel.com

Does this mean Chanel sales are now about to drop? Not in the slightest.

BOF reports that Chanel is "working to create a new generation of high-end products using different materials."

The other side of this coin is that the brand's classic python handbags, which sell for around $10,300 (R142 482), are about to be in high demand on the resale market, as secondhand bags were already on sale for 85K since Chanel took snakeskin handbags off their official website yesterday.

READ MORE: You can buy the world's most expensive bag for a cool R46 million

We believe other labels in the luxury fashion stable will soon take the lead from Chanel and do the same.

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