A clothing brand named ‘Sahara Ray Swim‘ is in news for printing images of Hindu deities on its swimwear collection.
The brand is owned by Sahara Ray, a young Australian-American model and surfer, who in 2016 had a fling with pop star Justin Bieber.
These clothing items are part of a new line of swimwear called the ‘Aura Collection 2022’.
This swimwear collection comprises biknis that feature images of Hindu deities on top of them.
While sharing images of models flaunting the objectionable swimwear, Twitter users questioned how the West is constantly using Hindu Gods and Goddesses as ‘fashion design’ for their bikinis.
Other outrgaed social media users shared the following:
One user even pointed out that Hinduism is not a joke or “an aesthetic for you to profit off of”.
Madhur Singh informed other netizens that the Instagram handle of ‘Sahara Ray Swim’ blocks anyone who questioons their anti-Hindu swimwear collection.
This is not the first time a brand has resorted to profiting by an open display of anti-Hindu display.
In 2011, another swimsuit featuring a print of Hindu goddess Lakshmi had caused outrage among Australia’s Hindu community. This was designer Lisa Burke of Lisa Blue presenting her collection in the Australian Fashion Week. The brand released a statement on Facebook: “We would like to offer an apology to anyone we may have offended and advise that 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.”
In 2013, an Australian brewery (Brookvale Union Brewery) had apologised for using images of Hindu deities Ganesh and Lakshmi on its alcoholic ginger beer bottles after an outrage from the Indian community.
In 2017, the Hindu Council of Australia called for a lamb advt. made by Meat and Livestock Australia to be banned. Australia’s Hindu community pointed out how this advt. was insensitive, crude and a deplorable attempt to use images of Ganesha to promote lamb consumption.
IKEA Australia too had to apologise in 20202 to Hindu community after it featured a seven-minute long video that taught yoga poses, while associating each pose with an IKEA product. IKEA apologised for the video and stated: “We are truly sorry and apologise if this commercial from Ikea Retail Australia has been perceived as offensive in any way. We assure you that it was not intentional…the video is unpromoted on social media and Ikea Retail Australia will not re-activate.”
It is widely acknowledged that Hindu deities are meant to be worshipped in devalayas (temples) or at home. They are not intended to be used in selling mercantile product that have nothing to do with Hinduism. Yet, with an increasing frequency, the Hindu community in various parts of the world are being targetted to such Hinduphobic displays and attempts to hurt their religious sentiments.
The Australia Today has contacted ‘Sahara Ray Swim’ regarding this controversy and will update the story with their response.