If you want to be seen around town with this double-strapped tote bag from Gucci, it will set you back around $32,000 (£20,000). Now it’s no surprise that a Gucci bags run into the thousands, but what makes this particular bag a cut above the rest is the material – crocodile. Crocodile skin bags from Gucci, Hermes, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton are amongst the most expensive bags in the world, costing more than other exotic materials such as ostrich, salmon and python.
The Value of Crocodile Skin Bags
In a luxury accessories market worth $77billion, competition is stiff and the bar of exclusivity is forever being raised and one way to take it higher is to scarce materials. Much like precious metals and jewels, the diffiulty in obtaining exotic animal skins is what drives up the price – imagine the difference between a herd of cows and a herd of crocodiles and all becomes clear.
Exotic skins make up 10% of luxury bag sales and considering they can fetch up to 30 times more than an ‘ordinary’ designer bag, punch above their weight when it comes to the bottom line of the world’s biggest luxury brands. Crocodiles aren’t the only member of the Crocodilia order to make way for luxury – this alligator skin bag from Barney’s in New York goes for $39,000.
It can take up to two full skins to produce one of these luxury bags and unlike ordinary leather which is a by-product of the farming industry, crocodiles have to be bred specifically for their skin. Last year Louis Vuitton invested in Australian crocodile farms for a reported price of a few million dollars to keep their supply constant.
Naturally crocodile skin bags have brought complaints from animal rights groups, especially as the animal are bred solely for their skin, but given the quality and scarcity offered by exotic animal skins for consumers and the premium price they deliver for luxury brands, the race to find more unusual animals to turn into bags is only likely to heat up.