Take that Stella McCartney and the green fashion movement! Skin is in this fall and if you think leather is bad…how do exotic skins hit you?
Be warned almost every accessories brand will be offering exotic skin bags and jewelry from alligator to ostrich.
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According to an article in today’s WWD, the result is that there is a smaller supply of grade-A skins and heightened competition for designers to get them (read extremely high prices). Even so, the exotic handbag business shows no signs of slowing.
"The price of alligator has gone up 40% in the last two years," said Christine Plott Redd of American Tanning & Leather Co., which provides exotic skins to brands such as Proenza Schouler and J.Mendel. There’s plenty of skins available, but when you get into wanting good skins, that’s the problem. There are only so many first-grade skins."
Santiago Gonzalez, president of handbag company Nancy Gonzalez, operates his own farms in South America and rarely finds a problem in getting what he needs.
"I usually have priority because my volume is so enormous," Gonzalez said. "I provide 80% of my own skins, but we work 100% in exotics. Our volume is huge. I made 28,000 bags last year and this year, hopefully, 33,000. So when I buy the amount of skin I use, I have some leverage in the buy."
Accordingly, luxury firms aren’t taking any risks, either. Fred Distenfeld, owner of accessories firm LAI and an exotic skin manufacturer for more than 50 years, said brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Gucci all have secured their share by buying and employing their own tanneries, snagging them from the tier below them. It’s war.
Never fear, there’s enough skin for everyone. Let’s face it, the vast majority can’t afford or won’t shell out the cash for these items. For that we have faux exotics. However, try to at least purchase leather-embossed. PVC can look so cheap.
Read: Exotics: Limited Supply Gets Under Designer’s Skins by Caroline Tell
Here are some picks for fall:
Silver Croc Hobo by Nancy Gonzalez $4,000 at Vivre.com
Salvatore Ferragamo Gold Python Satchel $2,450 at Neiman Marcus
Kathy Van Zeeland Downtown Girl Animal Soft Shopper $88.95 at Zappos
Jalda Black Croc Embossed Leather Clutch $245 at Neiman Marcus
Jimmy Choo Ramona Suede/Snake Tote $2,995 at Saks Fifth Avenue
Devi Kroll for Target Anthracite Hobo $34.99 at Target
Runway Photo: Style.com