The story behind the creation of the Birkin bag begins in 1981. English actress and singer Jane Birkin was sitting next to Jean-Louis Dumas, the then-CEO of Hermès, on a flight from Paris to London. Birkin's signature straw basket— known for being everywhere she was, had fallen from the overhead compartment, spilling its contents everywhere. She explained to the executive that she had trouble finding a leather bag that fit her everyday needs, inspiring Dumas to create a bag that would be more practical and functional for everyday use.
Dumas and Birkin collaborated on the design of the bag, and the first Birkin bags were made from black leather and featured a simple, clean design with a belted turn lock closure. The Birkin rose to popularity soon after, and has since become a status symbol of wealth.
Source: Harper's Bazaar
Birkin was cited not using her signature bag— claiming she would stuff too much in it and it would give herself shoulder pain. She is rumored to own five or six Birkin bags, customizing them with stickers and patches and only using one at a time until it wears out.
Source: E! News
In 2015, Birkin publicly asked Hermès to stop using her name for the crocodile skin version of the bag, as PETA voiced their concerns about the materials not being ethically sourced. She stated that she wanted the company to "debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place." Soon afterward, Hermès announced that they had alleviated Birkin's worries and that the bag's name would stay the same.
Source: Fashion Network
Today, the Birkin bag is considered one of the world's most iconic and highly sought-after luxury handbags. The bags are made from high-quality materials such as leather, crocodile, and ostrich, and they are available in various sizes, colors, and finishes. Due to its exclusivity, the waiting list for a Birkin bag can be years long, and the prices for a Birkin bag can range from $10,000 to over $100,000, depending on the materials used.