As luxury brand Chanel cuts off sales to Russia, Russian social media influencers are cutting up the brand – literally taking scissors to their Chanel handbags in protest over the restrictions that have been imposed by the luxury French fashion label that mean they can no longer buy its products abroad.
Chanel, like many other brands, closed its stores in Russia in March to comply with European Union sanctions that ban the sale of luxury goods in Russia that are priced at more than $327. After closing its stores, Chanel stopped selling its products to people outside of Russia who may be intending to take them into the country, a move that has prompted Russian influencers and socialites to accuse the brand of “Russophobia.”
Marina Ermoshkina, a Russian TV host and actor, used garden shears to cut up her Chnael handbag on Instagram.
“Not a single bag, not a single thing is worth my love for my Motherland,” she wrote in her caption. “It’s not worth my respect for myself. I am against Russophobia, I am against a brand that supports Russophobia.”
“Chanel is just an accessory,” she added. “An accessory that at some point decided to humiliate people, my compatriots, decided to discriminate against people on the basis of nationality, which I will not tolerate. After all, the main thing is principles, and not what is in your hands, but what is inside you.”
Other influencers started to join Ermoshkina. Russian model Victoria Bonya showed her 9.3 million followers on Instagram how she cut her Chanel bag to pieces.
“If Chanel House does not respect its clients, why do we have to respect Chanel House?” Bonya says in her video.
DJ Katya Guseva said she was following Ermoshkina’s lead when she also cut up her black Chanel handbag with scissors and posted on Instagram.
“I always dreamed that a Chanel handbag would appear in my wardrobe, and it happened last year,” she wrote in her caption. “But after I learned about the brand’s policy towards Russians, I decided to remove these bags from my daily life until the situation changes.”
“I am against Russophobia, I am against the brand, which supports Russophobia and discrimination against women based on nationality. We Russian girls are beautiful whether we have a Chanel bag or not,” she continued.
Chanel has confirmed that it was halting sales of its clothes, perfume, accessories and other items to customers who were intending to use the products in Russia, as a response to President Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. In a statement Chanel said the brand complied with “all laws” applicable to its operations and employees, including trade sanctions.
“This is why we have rolled out a process to ask clients for whom we do not know the main residency to confirm that the items they are purchasing will not be used in Russia,” the representative said.
“We recognize that this process of walking through the law has caused disappointment to some of our clients,” the person added. “We are currently working on improving this approach and we apologize for any misunderstanding this may have caused, as welcoming all our clients, regardless of where they come from, is a priority for Chanel.”