Following reports that the brand is refusing to sell products to Russians abroad unless they agree not to use them in their home country, some have taken to social media, cutting up Chanel handbags in protest.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the DJ Katya Guseva said in a video on Instagram, “I’m against Russophobia and against segregation and to show this I will simply cut up this bag. I don’t need it anymore,” before cutting her Chanel handbag.
“I have to say that Chanel does not respect its clients, so why do we have to respect Chanel?” Russian model Victoria Bonya, 42, said in a video posted to Instagram before cutting a handbag in half and throwing it out of frame. Bonya has 9.3 million followers on the platform.
Other high profile Russians, including TV presenter Marina Ermoshkina, have posted similar videos to Instagram, saying Chanel’s policy goes beyond complying with international sanctions and crosses into discrimination against all Russian people.
In addition to closing boutiques within Russia, Chanel is among luxury brands that have reportedly been screening Russian shoppers internationally, including in Dubai and Paris. Some allege that they have been asked to sign a Chanel-branded document stating that their main residence is not in Russia and that they will not take purchases to Russia.
A representative for Chanel told BoF the brand is complying with trade sanction laws. The restrictions, announced on March 15, prohibited the “[sale], supply, transfer or export, directly or indirectly, [of] luxury goods … to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia or for use in Russia.”
The brand representative also said Chanel is working to improve its approach to asking customers for residency information. “We recognise that this process of walking through the law has caused disappointment to some of our clients,” said the representative. “We apologise for any misunderstanding this may have caused, as welcoming all our clients, regardless of where they come from, is a priority for Chanel.”
The French luxury giant is refusing to sell to Russians unless they can prove they live outside the country and declare they will not take purchases to Russia, upsetting some clients.