Australian swimwear label Lisa Blue has apologized for sending a swimsuit down the runway with an image of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. The company has halted production of the offending item, but not before members of a Hindu nationalist party burned the Australian flag alongside images of the models. Cultural appropriation can get tricky!
Word of the swimsuit spread when the Australian fashion blog Fashionising posted images from the show. The bloggers there write,
Visual representations of deities are nothing new, when applied to swimwear though, they can certainly provoke an emotional reaction. And provoke this one-piece did. Since the image ran on Fashionising.com our editors have been filtering out hundreds of comments about the piece, none of them pleasant. Largely aimed at the label and its designer Lisa Burke, they've ranged from statements of concern to mild slurs, and at the other end of the spectrum have also included curses and all out death threats.
Judging from the activity on Blue's Facebook page, there is a small but vocal group that remains unsatisfied by the apology. Rather than focusing on the easy ignorance and acquisitiveness that more plausibly lies behind the decision to use a Hindu goddess on a really ugly bathing suit, they compare it to using images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary on condoms and underwear. Someone's already been there, done that. And doubtless heard from outraged devotees.
Lisa Blue 'Lakshmi' Swimsuit Causes Outrage Among Hindus [HP]
Aussie Flag Burned Over Image Of Goddess [Daily Telegraph]
The Swimsuit That Outraged [Daily Telegraph]