Within 24-hours of Hindu protest, The Shard (London) headquartered “global luxury-shopping destination” MatchesFashion apologized and removed Swim Shorts carrying images of Hindu deities; which Hindus had called “highly inappropriate”.
Paul Watson, Menswear Head of Communications of MatchesFashion, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, wrote: “…We have removed the item from the site and furthermore we have circulated your email directly to our buying team to make them aware of such sensitivities moving forward. We trust this meets with your approval and apologise for any offence caused. This was not intentional.”
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked MatchesFashion for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which thought images of Hindu deities on such a product was insensitive.
Rajan Zed suggested that MatchesFashion and other companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.
Zed had said that many Hindu deities displayed on these shorts were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s thighs, hips, groin, buttocks, genitals and pelvis. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or icons or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 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 had noted.
Zed had stated that such trivialization of Hindu deities was disturbing to the Hindus world over. Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers, Zed added.
Objectionable Swim Shorts were priced at $273.
MatchesFashion, whose history reportedly goes back to 1987, claims to be the “modern luxury shopping destination for the confident global fashion customer”, and offers over 450 luxury brands like Prada, Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Halpern, Wales Bonner, etc. Besides its London stores in Marylebone, Notting Hill, Wimbledon, 5 Carlos Place; it sells online delivering to over 176 countries; and also offers “Private Shopping”. Its tagline is “Fashion with imagination”.