Snakeskin : A unique and conflicting fashion
Today, snakeskin is among the best fashion lines. Heeled shoes, women's handbags, jackets, belts,... The uses of this skin are countless.
This skin 🐍 has established itself as a luxurious leather giving an elegant style. The biggest brands use this hide to create their products whose market value is rising very quickly.
But like any animal material, the craze for this skin hides a whole industry.
In the world of snakeskin, we have fashion and animal exploitation. Welcome to the world of snakeskin leather. Today, snakeskin is a must in high-end fashion.
At The Vipers House, you will only find shoes, boots, and handbags in faux snakeskin. Discover our Snake Skin Handbags collection.
1) SNAKESKIN, A TIMELESS MATERIAL: THE RESURRECTION OF A TREND FROM THE 1980S
You may have noticed the snakeskin is everywhere on social networks 📱, the television. It can be worn on any occasion and magnifies femininity. Casual pants, miniskirts, slim jeans, handbags or pairs of women's snakeskin (or crocodile skin) shoes were the big trends of the 1980s. The same goes for leopard print. The last few years have seen a resurrection of this past trend.
In our time snakeskin has become fashionable unlike in the past when this outfit was rather classic. Many people have a skirt or a mini-bag in this leather in their wardrobe or locker room. But its particularity nowadays is that it is easy to accessorize an outfit. 👜
THE LATEST TREND WORN BY THE STARS
We can talk about the full trench coat collection worn by Rihanna or the Balenciaga black python sneakers for men at 845€ a pair. Snakeskin has become a real trend in luxury shopping 🛍️. You can see very well that this outfit is difficult to avoid, given the craze for this high-end material.
When Kylie Minogue was spotted with a 1,279 euro Zagliani bag in golden python, the celebrity press did not fail to mention it. The same goes for Kate Moss seen with a snakeskin clutch on her shoulder, actress Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives with a €1,300 fringed python Prada bag, and Keira Knightley with Chanel python shoes.
2) A MOST EXPENSIVE STYLE
BUT WHY IS SNAKESKIN SO EXPENSIVE?
Snakeskin is rare, the accessories with real snakeskin (handbags, small tote bags, and other carrying bags) can reach prices from 15 000 to 20000 dollars. But also for shoes, the prices can reach 2000 dollars.
Even fake snakeskin platform boots (python print on real leather) can cost up to $1500. This makes this trend one of the most expensive in fashion today.
Rarity is the main characteristic of these bags for example. And not ❌ their durability so be careful these items are expensive because they are rare and therefore luxurious.
The size of the snake also makes it difficult to make items larger than a small leather bag for women. Finally, this type of skin is delicate and with age, the scales tend to lift naturally. The level of work required to assemble this fragile skin contributes to its high cost.
3) REAL AND IMITATION LEATHER
HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THESE TWO TYPES OF LEATHER?
To make the difference between real and fake skin, it is necessary to pay attention to certain details:
- The cost
- The moral
The price at which you buy this accessory. Be aware that this skin will be a status symbol for most people. Yes, not everyone is ready to spend thousands of euros to wear a red leather bag 🤔.
On the other hand, many people think that it is not necessary to kill animals to dress up and fill their wardrobe or locker room 🧥. This is why a large part of the population opts for fake snakeskin. We propose to you a very trendy item whose name will make your friends envious, the Vintage Snakeskin Handbag.
THE REAL SNAKESKIN
A really interesting characteristic to know is the aging of this skin that will cause the scales to stand out. But certain techniques will help to slow down this process ✔️.
Some people don't like this feature, but this process is inevitable. On the other hand, people who like this exotic skin appreciate it and think that it adds beauty to the skin.
But in any case, try to use quality cleansers for such expensive items.
FAKE SNAKE LEATHER: MORE AFFORDABLE OR MORE ETHICAL?
To know everything about fake skins, they are often made from the skin of another animal (cow, goat, calf). Then a snake pattern is printed on this skin to make it more durable. But also a patent is used to reinforce this skin even more.
The fake snakeskin does not have to be cheap. The price of false snakeskin items is also determined by the material, the brand, and the designer. Some pairs of faux snakeskin boots cost $1500, others $100. 😅
You or I can't tell the difference between real skin or fake skin just by looking at it. This is due to the impression that is almost perfect this technique will obviously determine the price of the accessory or clothing.
4) THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SNAKE LEATHERS
Of course, not all leathers have the same value, this importance depends on certain characteristics 🐍:
Here is a selection of the most popular snake leathers used in the fashion industry:
It is the most common and therefore the most used for leather goods. It is imported from some livestock farms where it is hoped that animal rights are respected. The peculiarity of this skin is that its pattern gives it a brownish surface that allows producing things of medium size: Boots, bags 👜, vest,...
But it should be known that some pythons will be protected because it would be in danger of extinction because of increased exploitation.
The specialty of this skin is the bags which are the most expensive except for the cobra bags.
INDIAN COBRA LEATHER
The Indian cobra (spectacled cobra, royal cobra, Asian cobra, or binucleate cobra) is a dangerously venomous snake. The spectacled cobra has this famous typical mark on the back of its head, reminiscent of the shape of a pair of spectacles 👓.
The color of the snake's skin is usually brownish or camel. Due to the distinctive mark on its collar, cobra leather was among the most expensive leathers on the market. Cobra leather handbags sold for thousands of euros each.
But following the Washington Convention on the Protection of Species, trade-in Indian cobras and products made from their skins was banned. The convention offers protection to animals classified as "rare" or "endangered". 👍
This species has the largest snake in history, the giant anaconda. The anaconda has a restricted habitat in South America 🌎, and their skin is fascinating because when it is worked it can give very elegant black leather which is fashionable for men and women.
Rattlesnake leather is also used in the manufacture of sandals, 👠 heels, moccasins, and other similar products. Its khaki beige color makes this snake leather unique.
Even the rattle at the end of its tail can be purchased.
LEATHER AND IMITATION LEATHER WITH SNAKE LEATHER EMBOSSING
Most of our items will use a cowhide 🐮 which will have snake patterns giving a realistic look and thus imitating snakeskin.
This process has the advantage of making it easier to dye the leather to make it multicolored, silver or metallic. It is even possible to inlay rhinestones, sequins or sharp nails.
Making a similar skin is often synonymous with difficulties because the relief of the snakeskin is unique. Only the experts 🔍 can recognize the real from the fake, which is why they are so popular with women...
4) THE SNAKESKIN INDUSTRY
Indonesia is the world's largest exporter of snake skins ✈️. But many Asian countries (Vietnam, Philippines, China...) also export their skins.
The Indonesian industry is dependent on its vast network of snakes. According to a report on the trade and conservation of snakes published in 2011 by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, around 196,000 people in Indonesia work in the snakeskin sector.
About 170,000 of these people are snake catchers 🐍, ranging from casual part-time hunters to full-time professionals. The rest are involved in processing the skin or selling it.
CONSUMERS AROUND THE GLOBE
A small workshop of 4 people can produce between 50 and 30 bags and toe leaves in one month, for this number of people it's an exploit. It is thus enough to multiply it and we will have a production line. It is necessary to know that in Thailand the snakeskin is worked and sent all over the world. Asian countries like China, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei will order some for some trade fairs.
The snakeskin wallet is currently all the rage. A collection of THE VIPERS HOUSE wallets should be launched soon but you can find our handbags. 🤫
The biggest importer is Italy, knowing the biggest brands that exist in this country. The Italian market then goes to export 50% of its finished goods to the United States, 25% to the French market and the remaining 15% are for the rest of the European countries.
5) MANUFACTURING PROCESS OF SNAKESKIN LEATHER
The snakeskin handbag is an elegant piece, often seen in luxury shops and on the catwalks of the world's fashion capitals.
But the journey of this coveted leather, from the snake in the wild to the window of a department shop, is a long one. And often unpleasant. 🙁
THE SNAKE HUNTING
People who capture snakes are very numerous in some countries in Asia. It is considered as a work in certain countries which can be very tedious because they spend their days in certain ponds, gardens or jungles but also because the capture is very difficult often in one-hour one captures maximum one snake.
As we told you the quality of the snake's skin depends on the pattern. One of the most coveted snakes is the reticulate python with its elegant and very demanding patterns.
Once captured, the snakes are bagged and taken to the slaughterhouse to begin the skin preparation process.
PREPARATION OF THE SNAKESKIN
Yes, there are many ways to kill and skin this type of reptile but unfortunately, the techniques often used do not respect certain rules, that is why NGOs and animal rights defenders always want to persecute this kind of activity.
Large species of snakes like the python or the anaconda are stunned and killed with a blow to the head (Yes it is cruel). Then an incredible amount of water is injected to make the animal swell and allow extraction of the skin much easier.
There is a lot of evidence that this industry causes a lot of suffering without thinking about animal welfare.
TANNING AND PROCESSING
Once the snakes are peeled, the skins are rolled up and sorted into stacks according to their size 📏. They are then cut into strips with scissors and dried, sometimes in an oven. Snake meat is not wasted because in Asia it is thought to cure various diseases and stimulate virility.
Once dried, the snake skin leaves are either sent to foreign factories 🏭 or dyed and transformed on the spot into leather handbags, pumps, wallets, briefcases and original shoe collections.
These items, which are made locally and then sent abroad, often receive a spectacular price premium. In Indonesia, a full snake leather shoulder bag can cost between 1.5 and 3 million Indonesian rupees ($120-250) but can sell for thousands of dollars in the United States in a small leather goods shop.
6) SMUGGLING AND "SNAKE FARMS".
THE EXPLOSION IN DEMAND AND SMUGGLING
Europe receives every year more than 500 000 snake skins imported from Southeast Asia where they are transformed into accessories. The volume of trade has increased by 40% this year. So Europe is legally importing more than 700 million euros in snakeskins without counting the illegal trade thanks to the laxity of European laws.
In Asia, the scale of this smuggling trade was highlighted last year when the Chinese government seized 68,000 illegal python skins worth $48 million.
THE CREATION OF SNAKE FARMS, THE EXAMPLE OF KERING
The Reticulated python for example and the Burmese python are two species whose interest is currently minimal inbreeding because these species take three years to grow and maintenance is very expensive (reproduction, care, ...).
When the brands saw the very lucrative opportunity represented by the snakeskin 💵, then many farms managed by Europeans were born. Everybody knows Kering is Gucci, Saint-Laurent, and Alexander McQueen. The luxury brand has decided to create its own python farm in an Asian country to allow, breeding in better conditions.
The first goal of this initiative would be to decrease ↘️ illegal trade. The brands have signed agreements with the Python Conservation Partnership. For this reason, companies are looking for other ways to obtain valuable snake skins.
Note: the snake farm shown above is not one of the Kering Group!
THESE NEW PYTHON FARMS, SUPPOSED TO BE MORE ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE
These new snake farms announce that they will comply with the recommendations of the Farm Animal Welfare Council to guarantee the "five freedoms" for animals:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Be free from discomfort
- Express normal behavior
- Freedom from pain, injury, and discomfort
- To be free from fear and distress
The animal rights group Peta 🐼 recently revealed that it has bought shares in LVMH, the fashion house that owns Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Givenchy.
This was to fight against what it considers to be animal rights violations. Peta has already taken shares in Prada and Hermes as part of his campaign against the use of exotic skins, including alligator and crocodile skins 🐊.
DIFFICULT TO TRACE SKINS
You are probably listening to the speeches of the big brands saying that their products come from farms that are safe for animals.
Under the pressure of the big organizations, the big brands pretend to work with farms whose rules are strict regarding the respect of the animal's interest. To guarantee a "sustainable and ethical" taming and slaughter.
But tracking down every snakeskin is almost impossible. The snakeskins you see on some shelves are of unknown origin even if you ask the owner 🤷. This is made possible by the great flexibility of the laws for the lucrative business of snakeskin. Animal protection laws are also much less for reptiles.
If you go to Southeast Asia and China you will find some breeding farms. But these structures will be used to circulate in the market of illegally caught pythons, it is the same principle as for illegal money. The volume of illegal exchange is such that almost all pythons from Cambodia, Indonesia, and Laos may be illegal ⛔.
7) ETHICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
BY-PRODUCTS OF THE FOOD INDUSTRY
The food industry and snakeskin business are linked in Asia. Any animal product used in fashion is a by-product of the meat industry.
This is the case for snake leather: the meat of the slaughtered animal (cow, kid, sheep, beef, lamb...) is used for human food, and the skin is used to make items that will then be sold 💲. In Asian countries where snakes are eaten, as we have seen this is also true for reptiles.
Leather issues are therefore largely concerned with animal welfare, even though, unlike other animals, cows are never bred solely for their skins.
So it is true that the leather industry would collapse if people stopped eating meat 🥩❌. However, it should be noted that the price the farmer gets for the hide of his farm animals is negligible. It is paid by weight, not by individual skin.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE CAUSED BY THIS INDUSTRY
Nearly 70% of the world's water supply 💧 is used for livestock, food, and therefore fashion. A quarter of the Earth's surface is covered by pastureland, while habitats for wild fauna and flora are becoming scarce. This exploitation also pollutes because there is always the problem of blood, waste, silage, and manure: you have to put that somewhere.
More than 95% of the world's leather is chrome tanned. The danger is that chrome is a heavy metal ⚠️. And if it is badly tanned and the molecules are left "loose", it can oxidize to chromium 6, which is carcinogenic. So it's a public health issue.
The alternative is "vegetable tanning", which uses the bark of trees. But this process takes months, compared to chromium, which only needs a few days to take effect. However, the waste from vegetable tanning includes material from the carcasses, germs, and bacteria.
CONCLUSION: MENTALITIES ARE CHANGING
You know everything now! 🙂
We are beginning to realize the reality that surrounds us, so the mentality is slowly changing to arrive at a new era where animals will be considered as living beings in their own right.
Brands such as Mango, Urban Outfitters, Dorothy Perkins, or The Vipers House 👋 produce or sell animal-friendly imitation leather accessories. Many major groups are now communicating their desire for more sustainable and ethical development.
"Any change is difficult in the beginning, complicated in the middle, and beautiful in the end."
At The Vipers House, you will find boots, bags, belts, and more. Discover our luxurious collection of snakeskin handbags.❤️