Apologies from the designer and commitment to not to produce the objectionable swimwear suit with image of Goddess Lakshmi as part of its collection notwithstanding, the row has escalated to diplomatic levels.
The Indian government has complained to the Australian high commission a week after Byron Bay designer Lisa Burke sent a model down an Australian Fashion Week catwalk wearing a cutaway swimsuit under her label, Lisa Blue, depicting the goddess Lakshmi across her chest and bottom.
“The Ministry of External Affairs has conveyed its deep concern to the Australian high commission in New Delhi, asking that all concerned be apprised of the Indian religious sensitivities in the matter,” the ministry said in a statement published overnight.
The swim wears or tongs bearing Australian flag is a common sight in insensitive Australia, but playing with the sentiments of a religious community is deplorable and shows lack of understanding of the world around.
The fashion designing courses should be teaching ethics, especially religious sentiments.
“The issue was, similarly, taken up by our consulate general in Sydney with the fashion designer.” The Hindu Council of Australia and Vishwa Hindu Parishad were up in arms against the depiction of the image on the swim wear and sent out emails condemning the act and action.
The Department of Foreign of Affairs and Trade could not immediately confirm the complaint with high commission staff, due to the time difference. But a spokesperson said DFAT was aware of the furore.
Photographs of the model in the Lisa Blue swimwear show sparked outrage in India over the weekend.
Demonstrators burnt Australian flags, religious figures demanded apologies and the label’s Facebook page became the site of furious debate.
Ms Burke issued numerous statements apologising for any offence the print had caused and said Lisa Blue would not produce the swimsuit as part of its collection. The Hindu Council of Australia circulated another e mail giving details of the apology by Lisa Blue.