• Friday, December 09, 2022

Business

Fashion brand removes Ganesha clutch bag from sale after protests, issues apology

FILE PHOTO: Christmas lights decorate Harrods on December 5, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

A global fashion brand known for its sparkly handbags issued an apology and ceased the production of a Ganesha clutch bag with leather lining after protests by Indian diaspora groups in the UK.

Judith Leiber said its goal is to create unique handbags that celebrate different cultures and that it would replace the lining with synthetic after concerns were raised about the use of leather alongside the image of a Hindu deity, given the sanctity of the cow for Hindus.

“We are deeply sorry to hear that our Ganesh bag has caused offence to the Hindu community,” said Lela Katsune, President of Judith Leiber Couture.

“Judith Leiber’s goal has always been to create unique pieces that respectfully celebrate art, individuals and cultures. However, now that we are aware that the leather lining in the Ganesh bag contradicts the Hindu belief system, effective immediately we will be ceasing
production on this style with leather lining. Going forward, this style will be produced with a synthetic lining,” Katsune said.

The company has also offered customers who may have purchased the bag, which retails for more than £6,000 in the UK, to replace the leather interior free of cost.

The Ganesha-styled handbag came to the attention of REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Culture Heritage) UK Chapter, a diaspora group, after the handbag was spotted on sale by the luxury department store Harrods in central London.

Harrods responded quickly by withdrawing the item and said: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we have removed this from sale from our site.”

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