Designer angers Hindu cleric by using goddess on swimsuits


FEBRUARY 01, 2019

A London fashion designer has incurred the wrath of a prominent cleric after releasing a clothing collection featuring prints of a Hindu goddess.

Dalston-based designer Sera Ulger, 30, has faced a backlash since unveiling the Goddess range.

She said the collection, which includes £95 swimwear and leggings and £395 jackets, is inspired by her own “journey with yoga and meditation” and conveys “woman power and attitude”.

But influential US-based cleric Rajan Zed has criticised its “highly inappropriate” depiction of the Durga, the protective mother goddess in Hinduism. Mr Zed, who gave the first official Hindu prayer at the United States Senate in 2007, said of the collection: “Goddess Durga is highly revered in Hinduism and meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines, and not to adorn one’s buttocks and crotch.

“The inappropriate usage of Hindu deities for commercial or other agenda is not OK as it hurts devotees.”

Mr Zed urged Ms Ulger to withdraw the collection and apologise, adding: “Hindus are for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else, if not more. But faith is something sacred and attempts at trivialising it hurt the followers.”

Ms Ulger said she had been targeted by online trolls but insisted that taking her range out of production “is not going to happen”.

She told the Standard: “I do want to sincerely apologise to the Hindu community for offending them without meaning to. I had no intention to hurt anyone during my design process.

“My brand is about girl power, woman power. It’s about attitude with a lot of emotion to the print. So using the goddess went hand in hand.

“Not everyone loves it but that’s okay with the creative industry, you either love it or hate it. It would cost me thousands of pounds to take it out of production, something I can’t afford. I’m not a massive brand and I want to be able to express myself without someone telling me I can’t.”

Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, with over a billion followers, and there are more than 800,000 Hindus in the UK alone.

Earlier this month a brewery in Cheshire scrapped labels on its bottles featuring the sacred “Om” symbol after Mr Zed objected to them as “highly trivialising”.

He also forced an apology from a Yorkshire brewer for naming a beer after the god Ganesh.

Source: Standard.co.uk



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