Upset Hindus are urging for apologies from London Fashion Week (LFW), its organizer British Fashion Council (BFC), its principal sponsor Sunglass Hut and London based fashion designer Ashish Gupta for trivializing Hindu deities in one of the LFW shows in London on September 19.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and it was highly inappropriate to unnecessarily parade their likeness in fashion shows for mercantile greed.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, is urging BFC’s Chief Executive Caroline Rush to issue a formal apology for such presentation, which many Hindus found disrespectful.
An organization like BFC, which aimed “to further the interests of the British fashion industry” and which was funded by “the government including the Mayor of London”, should have shown some maturity and responsibility before permitting such a show, which was insensitive and hurtful to the devotees, Rajan Zed indicated. Luxottica owned Sunglass Hut, which claimed to be “the world’s leading authority on premium sun-wear”, should also be not in the business of sponsoring such disrespectful shows, Zed added.
Zed further said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it was disturbing to the faithful. Hindus were for free expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more, but faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it tormented the devotees, Zed pointed out and added that businesses should be respectful to various faith traditions.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed noted.
Writing about this Ashish Gupta’s “Bollywood Bloodbath” catwalk show at LFW (September 15-20) in London’s Brewer Street; fashion website styleXstyle, calling it “Downright Disrespectful”, said that “we couldn’t help but notice how models were dressed as Hindu deities to showcase the looks” and “I see models’ faces painted to replicate that of Hindu Gods”. It further asked “What does Lord Shiva or Hindu Goddess Kali have to do with fashion?” and added that “cultural appropriation is not cool or hip or edgy. It’s disrespectful.”
Themuse.jezebel.com said that Ashish “sent models down the runway painted like Hindu gods and goddesses”. The Huffington Post UK stated that “models’ makeup was based on the Hindu goddess Kali”.