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11th March 2013

Beyoncé sparks outcry with her custom-made ‘Zoo-in-a-Shoe’.

Natalie Clark discusses Beyonce’s ethical fashion faux-pas

Beyoncé has had a great start to 2013.  From wowing the audience with her electric Super Bowl half time performance, to announcing her latest world tour ‘The Mrs. Carter Show,’ she also has locked down a $50 million Pepsi deal. Furthermore, her daughter Blue Ivy celebrated her first birthday, so all in all, a fabulous start to the year for Mrs. Knowles-Carter.

However, as much as the global superstar has gained in this short time, she has also received a backlash of criticism for her fashion choices of late.

Beyoncé, being a fan of French designer Isabel Marant’s hidden wedge trainers (which retail for just under £400), has commissioned Perfectly Made Kicks (PMK) to custom-make a pair, of which its design has provoked disappointment and disdain worldwide.

Labeled ‘The King Bey’, PMK has taken the iconic shoe and morphed it, using a terrifying menagerie of creatures, described by the brand as, ‘the Eden Treatment.’ The company’s website continues,  ‘a hybrid of land and sea skins are used to create this handcrafted creation.’ The array of skins and furs feature stingray, ostrich, calf, crocodile and anaconda.

Trainers by PMK

The zoo-in-a-shoe’s design supposedly mimics, ‘the southern belle’s sweet and fierce persona,’ according to PMK, who also created a pair of trainers last year for the singer’s hip hop star husband, Jay-Z. Named the ‘Brooklyn Zoo 1s’. Sparing no expense, PMK used an, ‘elaborate combination of elephant-print, ostrich, python, boa, crocodile, lizard, alligator, suede and stingray. ‘

It is clear that this power couple like to be one of a kind, and have no issues spending money senselessly to ensure they be so.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) responded instantly with a spokesperson saying, ‘these custom-made kicks come with a high price – and it’s paid by the various animals who were beaten and skinned alive or cruelly farmed and killed.

‘We hope that Beyoncé will choose to wear more clothes from her own clothing line – which features faux fur – and that one day she’ll go completely cruelty-free.

‘She can always choose the cruelty-free and ‘green’ fashion favoured by compassionate, chic celebrities such as Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway and designers such as award-winning fashion queen Stella McCartney.’

It is not the first time Beyoncé has come under severe criticism from the animal rights charity. The outfit she wore for her Super Bowl performance, designed by Rubin Singer, was created using python, cow and iguana. Furthermore, she was condemned for quite openly wearing a Dior fur coat at President Obama’s latest inauguration. On her choice for outerwear, PETA quite fittingly put, ‘what does it mean when one of the most popular musicians in the world endorses the fur trade in such a dramatic way.’

Perhaps one could forgive the choice of fur coat; January in Washington DC is rather chilly, and who could deny the Dior label? Fashionable and practical one could argue. But, considering the shoes and Super Bowl outfit were both custom made, it seems clear that Beyoncé has no opposition to the fur and skin industry.

What is baffling is that Beyoncé is an advocate and supporter or a vast range of charities and campaigns. Most recently, along with Salma Hayek, she has become one of the faces of Gucci’s Time for Change global campaign, to raise money and awareness for girls and women’s empowerment around the world.  The singer also contributed her song, ‘I Was Here’ for World Humanitarian Day, in partnership with the United Nations and Global Aid Organisations, as well as starting up the Survivor Foundation to help families in the US get back on their feet following disasters.

So why is it when it comes to animal rights, Beyoncé quite clearly seals those multi-million dollar lips and keeps her spectacular voice silent?

Queen Bey should heed the words of PETA and animal activists across the globe, or else, like so many celebrities before her, she’ll find herself drenched in the infamous red paint, which would not only ruin her outfit but also permanently tarnish her image as the world’s sweetheart. Has the global pedestal on which Bey sits started to topple?

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