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Under the skin

Python skin is everywhere at the moment, whether it is punctuating the high fashion sashaying down the Milanese catwalks or trimming a pair of Mary-Jane shoes at footwear fair Micam.

Whether it’s real, as seen at Dolce and Gabanna this season, or the fake variety that appears on Strutt Couture’s sandals next season, skin is the hottest thing.

Celebrities Kate Moss and Kylie Minogue were recently photographed carrying what looked like python handbags. But by wearing products such as these, anti-animal skin campaigners claim that the stars are turning skinned items into coveted objects and fuelling an illicit trade to boot.

However, the bulk of the fashion industry insists everything is above board. When skins are used in fashion they are usually fakes and if not, they are from farms that breed animals specifically for their skin.

The controversy surrounding animal skins and furs has been around much longer than most other ethical causes, so in that respect you’d expect them to have the legalities sewn up. Not so, say some campaigners. A spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) told The Telegraph: “The luxury reptile trade is a ruthless and bloody industry, which is also pushing many species towards extinction.”

Despite this, many believe that carrying a python handbag is no different to eating steak and chips, with the wearer consenting to the death of the animal for consumption, whether it be for fuel or fashion.

Where do you stand on the issue? Will you be stocking skin next season?

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