These Luxury Brands Are Banning Exotic Skins


Times Are A Changing. But Why?

 crocodile exotic skin animal cruelty fashion

‘Exotic skins’ include the skins of animals such as crocodiles, snakes, lizards and other reptiles.  For years they've been a mainstay of luxury labels, slithering down runways and into couture collections. 

But seemingly overnight there's been a sea-change, with a large number of leading fashion houses banning the use of exotic skins, instead migrating to more sustainable alternatives. 

Here's some impressive examples-


Chanel is one of the latest brands to ban the use of exotic skins in their range.

Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Chanel Fashion, explained that is was becoming difficult to source skins that met the house’s quality and ethical standards. Pavlovsky stated that Chanel would instead be focussing its research and development on man-made textiles among other materials.

Chanel exotic skin ban handbag

A bag made from a crocodile which is no longer available due to the ban.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham and her fashion house also banned the use of exotic skins this year. 

A brand spokesperson stated that ‘as a business, we have been looking to action the use of more ethically sourced products that have less environmental impact for some time’. When announcing the end of their use of exotic skins, the brand also stated that ‘this decision reflects the wishes of not only the brand, but also that of our customers’ – showing that compassionate shopping makes a difference to animals!

victoria beckham exotic skin ban handbag

A bag made from a crocodile which has been taken off shelves.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood is yet another designer to ban exotic skins.

The designer has long been promoted sustainable fashion by advocating that people ‘buy less, choose well and make it last’. When speaking about sustainability and ethics, it only makes sense that the brand has removed exotic skins from the collection, and has created vegan alternatives – which look just as good.

vivienne westwood vegan luxury handbag

Westwood’s vegan ‘Jungle crocodile bag’ won the ‘Most Stylish Handbag’ award in the 3rd PETA Vegan Fashion Awards ceremony.

Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg is another of the luxury fashion brands banning the sale of exotic skin products.

The brand stated: “We are committed to supporting the shift to a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry by providing the consumer with innovative and sophisticated alternatives. DVF will not incorporate the use of exotic skins, mohair, angora or fur.”

dianne von furstenberg exotic skin ban handbag

It is easy to replicate the beautiful natural patterns seen on crocodiles, lizards and snakes through a process called embossing, which stamps the texture into another material. Brands that have banned exotic skins use this technique to continue making the bags consumers love, without the crocodiles, snakes or lizards.

However, many brands have replaced their exotic skin products with cow skin products. This switch is not cruelty-free, it instead only changes which animal suffers.

Luckily, there are plenty of ‘exotic’ looking bags which feature embossing on animal-free materials!


ethical vegan bags exotic skin ban

Knowing that all animals deserve protection, not just reptiles, Kinds of Grace is a brand which not only does not use exotic skins, but no animal skins at all. The bags are made from embossed polyurethane vegan leather.


Author credit - many thanks to vegan model and founder of Willow Creative Co, Emma Hakansson for authoring this piece.  Emma is on Instagram @hakamme