Russian influencers are cutting up their Chanel bags in protest after the luxury house barred them from buying its goods

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More than likely, they got these bags for FREE. They are influencers. – Queenie

“If Chanel House does not respect its clients, why do we have to respect Chanel House?”

That’s what the Russian model Victoria Bonya said in an Instagram video on Wednesday before taking a pair of industrial scissors and snipping a black quilted Chanel handbag in two.

“Bye-bye,” she told her 9.3 million followers on the platform as she chucked the two pieces aside.

Bonya is just one of several Russian influencers who have filmed themselves cutting up their Chanel handbags in protest at being barred from buying goods from the French luxury brand.

After closing its stores in Russia, Chanel stopped selling its products to people outside Russia who’re intending to take them into the country, a move that has prompted several Russian influencers and socialites to accuse the brand of “Russophobia.”

The TV host and actor Marina Ermoshkina, who has 299,000 followers on Instagram, used garden shears to cut up a dark gray handbag on the platform on Wednesday.

“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.”

DJ Katya Guseva, who has 587,000 Instagram followers, said she was following Ermoshkina’s lead when she also cut up her black Chanel handbag with scissors.

“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.

The influencers received support from their fans but also angry comments from people who accused them of making a big deal out of a fashion accessory amid Russia’s war with Ukraine.

In a statement sent to Insider on Tuesday, a representative for 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.”

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