Hermès’ vegetable Birkin bags are good enough to eat — literally

A leather alternative has yet to be offered for the iconic bag — so it used real produce.

Ben Denzer

Hermès has finally produced vegan Birkin bags, although they’re not what you’d expect. Created in collaboration with artist Ben Denzer, the designer purses have swapped out their traditional leather exteriors for straight-up vegetables. Fresh cucumbers, asparagus, and cabbage were all used to produce the iconic — and now edible — Birkin bags.

Due to each purse’s decomposable nature, however, they won’t be able to make their way to stores. Instead, Hermès shared the bags on Instagram to promote its more tangible (and more expensive) Birkins, with its captions reading: “Enjoy the detour as classic Hermès bags inspire art good enough to eat.” If you’re really craving a bag you can eat, though, you can always recreate Denzer’s designs at home.

Pricey produce — To really whet your DIY Birkin skills — or your appetite — check out the production of the vegetable bags on Denzer’s Instagram. Alongside pictures of the cucumber, asparagus, and cabbage purses’ assemblies, you’ll also find some fruit outtakes, such as a banana and an apple Birkin that didn’t make the final cut. It turns out both fruits are better for eating than for building Birkins, as they don’t provide enough structural integrity.

But the three bags that made it to the Hermès Instagram show Denzer left no part of any vegetable wasted. Stalks were bent and tied together to create handles, while the veggie’s interior was cut into a padlock and bridges.

When it comes to playing with food, Denzer is a professional. The artist is known for his fun and edible designs, including books bound with cheese slices and condiment pockets to an entire account dedicated to matching his favorite reads with ice cream.

Ben Denzer

Could an actual vegan Birkin be on the way? — The objective behind Hermès’ vegetarian bags is unclear — it could just be something to fill their social feeds with, or the plant-based bags could be hinting at actual vegan Birkin bags dropping later this year. Earlier this year, the luxury brand partnered with start-up MycoWorks to develop a sustainable textile made of mushrooms. And while the leather alternative was only offered in Hermès’ Victoria travel bag — alongside elements of canvas and calfskin — the brand may be working to bring the eco-friendly material to its famous Birkin bags later this year.

Hermès has built its reputation on delivering the highest-quality leather designs, which is why a typical Birkin runs anywhere from $8,500 to $2 million. A luxury alternative would be a radical change for the brand — but if rich people want their bags to be more sustainable, we’re all in.