Monday, 9 May 2011

Are you offended by this swimsuit?

Photos: Getty

We've had the burning of the books in the streets when Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses was published, we've had the fatwas when the un-pc cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (saw) were published in the Danish newspaper and now we have the Australian flag being burnt in the streets of India.

Photo: Reuters

What is the cause of this outrage?

During Australian Fashion Week, models were sent down the catwalk wearing swimsuits and bikinis covered in pictures of of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi in front of an audience of hundreds.

Such was the outrage in India that demonstrators in Amritsar took to the streets and burned the Australian flag in protest along with photos of the clothing that they found offensive.

For those who don't know, Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity, fertility and courage - in other words, she is highly revered, not to be mocked and certainly not to the strewn all over a holiday swimsuit.

The Australian fashion house responsible, Lisa Blue Swimwear, has apologised and production of the particular line has been stopped, saying, "This range will never be available for sale in any stockists or retail outlets anywhere in the world.  We apologise to the Hindu no time would we ever have intended that the brand would cause offence".

This is not the first fashion faux pas made by the esoteric fashion world when it comes to Indian gods.....anyone remember the Ganesh Guess Tank tops or the Lord Rama Minelli shoes?

While I'm not Hindu myself,  I suppose I am a little offended by it.  I just don't see why any designer would take the risk of using any religious image on their garments.  Aren't there enough other images, visuals and prints that they could harness before risking the wrath of the world's great religions?  I'm not into curtailing freedom of speech, but where do we draw the line?

Or is it that all publicity is good publicity?  I''m sure I'd heard of Lisa Blue but it wasn't never top of my mind when I thought about swimwear, but now, even though this design will never see the light of day in retail stores, the name is definitely one I won't forget.

What do you think? Are you offended by this swimsuit?  Would you have worn it, if you had been given the chance?

1 comment:

  1. I think Fashion Brands have to stop acting so 'Naive' and accept that they know any publicity is good publicity for them.. Prior to reading your post I have to admit I hadn't heard of the Designer. Surely everyone knows that any kind of Relgious depiction on clothes etc.. is going to cause offence regardless of whether it is a small minority or entire nation that they offend.
    Come on designers be more responsible and sensitive!!