By Published On: 13 July 2011720 words3.7 min read
Eric Johnson

Jessica Simpson Tweeted: “Life is such a gift. Thank you to all of my family, friends, and fans for all of your birthday wishes and unconditional love. I’m so HAPPY!”

Jessica Simpson recently celebrated her 31st birthday and she’s “so HAPPY!”  How fantastic!  What is making her so HAPPY?  Her “stylish present, which came courtesy of fiancé Eric Johnson”- a Hermès Birkin bag!

(My use of the exclamation marks, by the way, is completely sarcastic.  I did get this information from a cheesy celebrity gossip site that thinks that “news” is whatever the celebrity populous is doing at any given time.  Reese Witherspoon runs errands! Check out her stylish “bank outfit!” OMG! That sort of thing)

In a 2009 article, the chief executive for Hermès announced that they would be breeding their own crocodiles to “meet the demand of the customers.”  Let that sink in.  A handbag company will now become a breeder of exotic animals for their skin only.

Did you know that it takes three to four crocodiles to make one Hermès Birkin bag?  Why you ask?  Most bags are made using only the skin from the crocodile belly- there is only so much belly skin to use so many animals must be skinned to have enough “material” to make the bag from.

It takes three or four animals to make a HANDBAG.  The $40,000 price tag for these bags is small compared to the environmental destruction and loss of life.  Which, of course, I’ve said before.

Jessica Simpson obviously isn’t the only one who owns one of these monstrosities.  Ashley Tisdale, Posh Spice, and Kim Kardashian all own Birkin bags.  So why am I singling out Jessica Simpson?  Oh, just to point out how to her fiancé Eric Johnson, a vegan, that a Hermès Birkin bag is pretty far from being vegan.

I’ve seen article after article about Eric Johnson and Jessica Simpson’s vegan-ness on popular vegetarian and/or vegan websites.  “Eric Johnson, Jessica Simpson Fiancee, Plans Vegan Fast Food Chain!” –  “Jessica Simpson Taking Vegan Cooking Lessons!” –  “Jessica Simpson Supports Her Hubby’s Vegan Lifestyle!”

The media has so much influence, don’t they?  So do celebrities.  Young Adults, the future of our country/world, in particular are easily influenced by friends, the media and celebrity lifestyles.

So, are we sending a clear and consistent message about veganism to them if we are celebrating someone like Johnson being vegan?  Or are we simply confusing people to what veganism is really all about?  Is it a diet?  Is it a lifestyle?  Can I still use animals but not eat them if I’m vegan?  What is a vegan?

Now, I’m aware that there are folks who eat a vegan diet but are not vegan- the health vegans.  If you are a health vegan, why not go all the way?  If you think it’s unhealthy to eat them, why wear them?  Why carry them around on your shoulder or put them on your feet?  Why drive around sitting on them?  As a vegan you know that there are alternatives, you’re halfway there.  I’m not condemning you, I’m asking you to look inside and find out what’s holding you back.  You’re already compassionate, you care very much for your personal health- that is great.  It’s time to take it a step further- you can do it, you’ve proven that with your diet.  I’m here for you, I’ll help- so will thousands of other vegans online and around the world.  You have a support network, you just need to take the first step.

So Eric, if you’re reading this (Wouldn’t that be great if you Googled yourself and ended up here?  I think so.), a Hermès Birkin bag is not vegan.  Four crocodiles lost their lives to make that one (ugly, personal opinion) orange bag.  They are not, like Jessica, “so HAPPY!”

Learn more about the animals used in fashion by visiting Commercial Street.  Commercial Street symbolizes the institutionalized use of animals in the human world, by showing what product labels would look like if they told the full truth.  A completely interactive experience, you can “walkdown Commercial Street located in Anytown, Anywhere, and “shop” for familiar items such as meat, dairy, clothing, over the counter medications, rugs, or even fish.  Each label will tell you more about the animals used in those items. It’s a powerful visual tool, one meant to reinforce how our choices impact the world around us, and the animals in it.

By Published On: 13 July 2011720 words3.7 min read
Eric Johnson

Jessica Simpson Tweeted: “Life is such a gift. Thank you to all of my family, friends, and fans for all of your birthday wishes and unconditional love. I’m so HAPPY!”

Jessica Simpson recently celebrated her 31st birthday and she’s “so HAPPY!”  How fantastic!  What is making her so HAPPY?  Her “stylish present, which came courtesy of fiancé Eric Johnson”- a Hermès Birkin bag!

(My use of the exclamation marks, by the way, is completely sarcastic.  I did get this information from a cheesy celebrity gossip site that thinks that “news” is whatever the celebrity populous is doing at any given time.  Reese Witherspoon runs errands! Check out her stylish “bank outfit!” OMG! That sort of thing)

In a 2009 article, the chief executive for Hermès announced that they would be breeding their own crocodiles to “meet the demand of the customers.”  Let that sink in.  A handbag company will now become a breeder of exotic animals for their skin only.

Did you know that it takes three to four crocodiles to make one Hermès Birkin bag?  Why you ask?  Most bags are made using only the skin from the crocodile belly- there is only so much belly skin to use so many animals must be skinned to have enough “material” to make the bag from.

It takes three or four animals to make a HANDBAG.  The $40,000 price tag for these bags is small compared to the environmental destruction and loss of life.  Which, of course, I’ve said before.

Jessica Simpson obviously isn’t the only one who owns one of these monstrosities.  Ashley Tisdale, Posh Spice, and Kim Kardashian all own Birkin bags.  So why am I singling out Jessica Simpson?  Oh, just to point out how to her fiancé Eric Johnson, a vegan, that a Hermès Birkin bag is pretty far from being vegan.

I’ve seen article after article about Eric Johnson and Jessica Simpson’s vegan-ness on popular vegetarian and/or vegan websites.  “Eric Johnson, Jessica Simpson Fiancee, Plans Vegan Fast Food Chain!” –  “Jessica Simpson Taking Vegan Cooking Lessons!” –  “Jessica Simpson Supports Her Hubby’s Vegan Lifestyle!”

The media has so much influence, don’t they?  So do celebrities.  Young Adults, the future of our country/world, in particular are easily influenced by friends, the media and celebrity lifestyles.

So, are we sending a clear and consistent message about veganism to them if we are celebrating someone like Johnson being vegan?  Or are we simply confusing people to what veganism is really all about?  Is it a diet?  Is it a lifestyle?  Can I still use animals but not eat them if I’m vegan?  What is a vegan?

Now, I’m aware that there are folks who eat a vegan diet but are not vegan- the health vegans.  If you are a health vegan, why not go all the way?  If you think it’s unhealthy to eat them, why wear them?  Why carry them around on your shoulder or put them on your feet?  Why drive around sitting on them?  As a vegan you know that there are alternatives, you’re halfway there.  I’m not condemning you, I’m asking you to look inside and find out what’s holding you back.  You’re already compassionate, you care very much for your personal health- that is great.  It’s time to take it a step further- you can do it, you’ve proven that with your diet.  I’m here for you, I’ll help- so will thousands of other vegans online and around the world.  You have a support network, you just need to take the first step.

So Eric, if you’re reading this (Wouldn’t that be great if you Googled yourself and ended up here?  I think so.), a Hermès Birkin bag is not vegan.  Four crocodiles lost their lives to make that one (ugly, personal opinion) orange bag.  They are not, like Jessica, “so HAPPY!”

Learn more about the animals used in fashion by visiting Commercial Street.  Commercial Street symbolizes the institutionalized use of animals in the human world, by showing what product labels would look like if they told the full truth.  A completely interactive experience, you can “walkdown Commercial Street located in Anytown, Anywhere, and “shop” for familiar items such as meat, dairy, clothing, over the counter medications, rugs, or even fish.  Each label will tell you more about the animals used in those items. It’s a powerful visual tool, one meant to reinforce how our choices impact the world around us, and the animals in it.

Leave a Comment

What do you think? Tell me in the comments.
All comments subject to the terms here.

  1. Amanda September 14, 2013 at 9:39 am - Reply

    I love this article. Just recently became vegan and there are so many alternatives. Even for celebrities. I’d have a ton of Stella McCartney purses if I had money :)

  2. Seymour Eliot July 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Johnson must be one of those plant-based dieters who thinks it’s what makes you a vegan. It’s not.

  3. Ann LaGoy July 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I totally got the sarcasm (written in sarcastica font, it seems).
    I share your frustration on issues like this. I don’t like the idea of calling oneself vegan to simply call attention to oneself. Truthfully, I’ve never even heard of the guy, but I know I’m not exactly in the loop. Public figures can quickly, and easily muddy the waters on any given issue.
    Oh, and kissing that ugly bag? Seems pretty shallow.

  4. Emily July 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Actually, Birkins start at around $8,000 but can easily reach $150,000. They come in 4 sizes (20, 30, 35 and 40 centimeter), and are usually made of either leather, ostrich, crocodile, or lizard skin. (Victoria Beckham has spent around $2.3 million on them.) Jessicas’ looks like a 40cm Togo leather bag, so it probably cost around $15,000 and didn’t involve any crocodiles being killed…

    Not that that makes it even remotely more humane or vegan but then again if you Google “Eric Johnson” or “Jessica Simpson” it’s not as if you’re suddenly inundated with vegan propaganda or vegan websites and even if you add the word “vegan” to your search it’s still not like you see more that a few passing references to veganism. So, it’s not exactly like the number one vegan operative has been compromised. It’s more like some dude who eats Tofurky on Thanksgiving bought his girlfriend a leather bag. *shrug*

    After all, that twit Ginnifer Goodwin was on the cover of VegNews, was Farm Sanctuary’s Turkey “Ambassadress,” vegan etc, vegan etc, vegan etc, and then spun around, renounced her veganism because of “boring health issues” and mocked people who were still vegan on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Hopefully people who are actually interested in learning more about being vegan will expand their research beyond People Style Watch but if they don’t there’s a pretty good chance they’re too vacuous to commit to/understand a vegan lifestyle anyway…