A Melbourne based fashion designer Leyla Raif has come under heavy criticism from Hindu activists after her fashion label ‘Soulan Zee’ displayed lingerie, carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha.

Soulan Zee

Protests from Prominent Hindu activist Rajan Zed and others, prompted the designer to withdraw the objectionable lingerie collection. In a mail to Zed, Leyla Raif wrote that she has withdrawn all the lingerie collection from her website.

“I have since removed all items entailing the Ganesha print from my website. I had no intention to offend anyone by producing these printed garments and have now stopped production of them, all items are removed from the website,” she wrote.

Soulan Zee

The fashion label which describes itself as “psychedelic clothing for dreamers” and believes in “living life to the fullest” was selling Ganesha Bootys, described as “perfect outfit for festivals, parties and events” and “Sexy high waisted boooootys”, for approximately AU$45.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, thanked Soulan Zee for understanding Hindu sentiments and removing the objectionable content. He said, “Hinduism is 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.”

He further said that representatives of such fashion labels should train their executives in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they have an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities.

Image: Rajan Zed

He also said that fashion labels should refrain from using Hindu dietetics for their commercial or marketing agendas. “Hindus are for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith is something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers,” he said.