Upset Hindus have welcomed an apology from an Australian swimwear label over depiction of image of Goddess Lakshmi on swimwear at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW) held in Sydney (Australia) from May 2-6.
A statement attributed to Lisa Blue Swimwear, headquartered in Byron Bay (Australia), published at certain websites, said: “We would like to offer an apology to anyone we may have offended and advise that the image of Goddess Lakshmi will not appear on any piece of Lisa Blue swimwear for the new season, with a halt put on all production of the new range and pieces shown on the runway from last week removed. This range will never be available for sale in any stockists or retail outlets anywhere in the world. We apologize to the Hindu community and take this matter very seriously”.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) said that this apology was “a step in the right direction”. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Zed added.
In an earlier protest statement, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked the manufacturer Lisa Blue Swimwear and RAFW organizers to publicly apologize and immediately recall all swimwear which showed Hindu Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not for pushing swimwear in fashion shows for mercantile greed of an apparel company, Zed argued.
Rajan Zed thanked various organizations and individuals world over who joined the protest. He suggested that businesses should be careful when handling various religious traditions as faith was something very sacred to the devout. He asked RAFW organizers to also issue a statement on this episode.
In another paragraph of Lisa Blue’s reported statement the company said: “Lisa Blue has been born out of a love of conservation, spirituality and a respect for all people. At no time would we ever have intended that the brand would cause offence. The use of images of Goddess Lakshmi was not in any way a measure of calculated risk taking, simply it was a desire to celebrate different cultures and share that through our brand”.