When Lisa Burke sent a one-piece printed with an image of HIndu goddess Lakshmi down the Lisa Blue Swimwear runway at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, she had no clue that an enormous backlash would follow.
Activists were outraged that an image of the deity — who represents wealth, wisdom, and beauty, among other things — was used for such a purpose. Hindu statesmen Rajan Zed explained: “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.” Some people were so upset about the offending swimsuit that they burned an Australian flag in Amritsar, India.
Burke yielded to the protestors’ demands, promising the designs would never be produced or sold:
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/ 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.
This range will never be available for sale in any stockists or retail outlets anywhere in the world. We apologise to the Hindu community and take this matter very seriously.
We’ve included pictures of the swimsuit below. What do you think of the controversy?