Kardashian klansman Scott Disick made headlines recently when he went on a canned-hunting/shoe-shopping trip at an alligator farm belonging to the family of Bachelor star Vienna Girardi while filming the always arty Kourtney & Kim Take Miami. Disick reportedly shot the alligator because he intended to turn the animal’s skin into shoes. But Disick started having second thoughts after noticing that the alligator was still alive and moving after being taken to a butcher. It wasn’t until Disick helped cut off the alligator’s leg that it dawned on him that “[y]ou can’t go around shooting animals because you want shoes that day.” Eureka!
Sadly, Disick isn’t the only celebrity culpable for causing exotic animals to suffer for leather. After performing in the Super Bowl halftime show wearing a Frederick’s of Hollywood-esque bodysuit pieced together from iguana, python, and cow skins, Beyoncé upped the ante by lending her name to PMK’s “King Bey” sneakers made out of calf hair and crocodile, anaconda, stingray, and ostrich skins. (Because why stop at three species when you can kill five?) PMK added insult to injury by making the absurd claim that “[n]o animals were beaten, harmed, or killed” for the shoes, to which PETA responded by ordering the company to stop issuing false and misleading statements to customers or face legal action.
Contrary to PMK’s claptrap, in order to make handbags, high-tops, and tacky Super Bowl halftime costumes, snakes are commonly nailed to trees and skinned alive, and alligators and lizards are bludgeoned with hammers. It can take several agonizing hours for the animals to die, usually from shock or dehydration. PETA’s video exposé, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, reveals more about the suffering that lies behind ethical and sartorial atrocities such as the Olsen Twins’ $55,000 crocodile backpacks and Lady Gaga’s bloated python stilettos.
Fortunately, lots of people are leaping to reptiles’ defense. Eco-friendly designer Heather Belle’s brightly colored vegan handbags in exotic-skins textures are featured in the April issue of O Magazine. Stella McCartney garnered rave reviews during Paris Fashion Week without sending so much as a stitch of exotic (or any) leather down the runway. And trendsetting U.K.-based retailer Topshop recently took a walk on the wildlife‘s side when it teamed up with PETA U.K. to make over the window of its Oxford Street flagship store and send a message to shoppers that exotic skins are not in.
Just more proof, as if we needed it, that you can get a killer look without killing an ark full of animals.